- Mikaela Shiffrin has withdrawn from the ladies’ downhill event at the Winter Olympics.
- It is the second event Shiffrin has pulled out of leaving her with just one more shot to win a second medal in Pyeongchang.
- Shiffrin cited the weather for her decision, but her mother/coach said her daughter was just not prepared and it would not be right to take a spot from a more deserving teammate.
- Shiffrin can still win a second gold medal in the ladies’ alpine combined.
US skier Mikaela Shiffrin is out of the ladies’ downhill event in the Winter Olympics.
The downhill is the second event Shiffrin has withdrawn from in Pyeongchang in what is turning out to be an up and down two weeks. She did win gold in the giant slalom, but now has just one more shot to win her second gold medal of the games.
Shiffrin released a statement citing the change in schedule due to bad weather earlier in the Olympics.
“As much as I wanted to compete in the Olympic downhill, with the schedule change, it’s important for me to focus my energy on preparing for the [ladies’ alpine] combined,” Shiffrin wrote.
Shiffrin did participate in the downhill training runs on Sunday and Monday. Afterwards, her mother – who also serves as Shiffrin’s coach – said Shiffrin wasn’t ready for the downhill, noting she hadn’t “touched her speed skis” in a month” and would need to “miraculously” improve if she hoped to compete in the downhill.
“[Other USA downhill] racers have been training and are more sharp on their equipment right now,” Eileen Shiffrin told Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated. “Mikaela is still getting familiar with the track and not feeling quite ready to fully attack the way our speed girls do … If Mikaela makes big strides and miraculously feels she could be a real contender by Wednesday, then she would race. But she would have to shave off some real time to do that.”
Shiffrin finished fourth among the Americans in both training runs, ranking 23rd overall after the first run and posting the 16th fastest time during the second run.
Shiffrin’s mother added that her daughter “can’t in good conscience” take a spot from a teammate who is better prepared to compete.
Shiffrin came into the Olympics with a shot to medal in five different events. No Alpine skier had ever won more than three gold medals in a single Olympics or more than four in a career.
But Shiffrin withdrew from the Super-G because of weather delays during the first week and then missed the podium during her best event, the slalom, when she finished fourth.
After failing to medal in the slalom, Shiffrin posted an Instagram that included a great lesson on embracing failure at the Olympics.
“It’s the Olympics, and for me that’s about showing heart and passion as much as it is about medals,” Shiffrin wrote. “So I wouldn’t take back my emotions or excitement after the GS in order to have better shot at a SL medal too. You know, it’s not necessarily the medalists who get the most out of the Olympics. It’s those who are willing to strip down to nothing and bear their soul for their love of the game. That is so much greater than Gold, Silver, or Bronze.”
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