Shiffrin pays high price for one wrong turn

American fell early in giant slalom and couldn't repeat her gold medal

Olympics: Alpine Skiing-Womens Giant Slalom
Mikaela Shiffrin of the USA falls and misses a gate during the women's giant slalom during the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games Monday, Feb. 7, 2022, at Yanqing Alpine Skiing Centre.
Eric Bolte / USA Today Sports

YANQING, China – Mikaela Shiffrin's medal chase at the Beijing Olympics got off to the worst possible start when she crashed out on the first run of the giant slalom but the American vowed to re-focus quickly ahead of Wednesday's slalom.

Shiffrin's supporters have talked of her medaling in every event at these Games but those hopes were dashed within seconds of her taking to the snow on Monday in an event she won in Pyeongchang four years ago.

"The day was finished, basically, before it even started," Shiffrin told reporters after going down at the fifth turn.

"There's huge disappointment ... not even counting medals, but (it is) just a really fun hill and really good conditions."

Shiffrin said she had gone too hard into the turn and paid the price on a course which offered little leeway for mistakes.


"(I was) trying to push it but sometimes that is almost anxious and it just didn't work. I think that's the thing about the surface. I feel that it's incredible, but it doesn't give you any room for (error), it's not forgiving," she said.

"I spent a lot of time in my training, working on my technique and tactics to limit the risk of skiing out and crashing. So to do it in the Olympic GS? Well, I think there's just a lot of questions that will be asked."

Shiffrin listed a series of issues that have plagued her through this season, including injury, testing positive for COVID, but conceded it probably came down to a simple mistake.

"We can go to a lot of different places during the season where we can put the blame but I think the easiest thing to say is that I skied a couple good turns and I skied one turn a bit wrong and I really paid the hardest consequence for that," she said.

"And now we have to move forward because there's a lot a lot still to come the next weeks."

‘Never get over it’
Shiffrin is the favorite in Wednesday's slalom but will also be a medal contender in the combined and she also has hopes in the speed events.

The intense schedule means the 26-year-old will have little time to reflect on her disappointment.

"I'm not going to cry about this because that's just wasting energy," she said.


"My best chance for the next races is to move forward, to refocus, and I feel like I'm in a good place to do that.

"So I don't know about the medals. I know that my skiing is good ... but you just don't know what's going to happen and I'm going to do my very best to keep the right mentality and keep pushing."

While she will not wallow in self-pity Shiffrin acknowledged the disappointment would remain with her.

"I never get over it and I won't ever get over this either," she said. "But I'm just have to put the pause button on really feeling the emotions or dwelling on it, because it just takes too much energy and I just can't, I can't do it.

"It just builds up and it never goes away. And I think that's what drives me to try to keep working and improving, so ... that those things don't happen. But sometimes they still do happen. And unfortunately, it happened today and I felt like there was a lot to look forward to."

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