When Shiffrin began the race, she skied off course for the second day running. As she prepares for the super-G, the two-time gold medalist is shaken to her core by the experience.
She said, “Right now, I really want to call him.” If he were here, he’d tell me to just get over it, but he’s not, so on top of everything else, I’m really upset at him.”
Third Olympic Games of Shiffrin
When it comes to Shiffrin, this is her third Olympic Games and each time the expectations have risen. At the 2014 Sochi Olympics, she was already the world’s greatest slalom skier at the age of 18, but she had a lengthy Olympic career ahead of her.
In Pyeongchang, South Korea, four years later, she began competing in the speed events. She struggled in vain to stop the noise…
Throughout the course of her career, Shiffrin maintained an air of calm and composure on the snowy slopes where the top skiers in the world compete against each other and the mountain. She made a risky and irresponsible sport appear like ballet. She rarely lost a race because she skied off course and didn’t make it across the finish line because she was out of sorts.
For the time being, and for the second time in three days, that seemingly perfect equilibrium has been disturbed. Shiffrin was unable to make it past the opening laps of a race. It’s hard to tell what happened to her, but she was one of the favourites going into Wednesday’s slalom but dropped out after less than half a dozen turns.
For Shiffrin, a tightly wound, profound thinker who has spent much of her career developing techniques to help her relax in the greatest moments, “I guess I felt how much I cared,” she said. Before a race, she has tried everything from meditating, listening to music, visualising, and even conducting word searches in the summit warming tents.
“Snowboarding stronger than ever and sooner than ever” was Paula Moltzan’s prediction for Shiffrin following her eighth-place finish on Wednesday. Earlier than her second run, Shiffrin texted Moltzan a message of support.
Shiffrin and Moltzan are expected to ski together in a team event at the end of the Winter Games. “It’s a cruel sport,” Moltzan said. “There are major accidents and major disappointments.”