American Mikaela Shiffrin charges to gold in giant slalom

Feb 16, 2018, 04:53
American Mikaela Shiffrin charges to gold in giant slalom

American Mikaela Shiffrin has won gold in the women's giant slalom in her Pyeongchang Olympic debut.

Indeed, that really did happen.

On Thursday, the reigning Olympic slalom champion will race for another gold medal in slalom (weather permitting, of course). Shiffrin trailed by 0.20 seconds after the first run but powered through a course filled with bumps to quickly make up time in the second. Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway took silver (2:20.41) and Italy's Federica Brignone claimed bronze (2:20.49).

She was in second place behind Italys Manuela Moelgg by 0.20 seconds after the first run, and four other skiers had their turns taking the lead after their second run to set the stage.

On Thursday morning, she was the seventh skier out of the gate, managing a time of 1:10.82. "That actually started to weigh on me a little bit more and I had to actually, during the season a year ago, I had to re-evaluate my own goals and my own expectations and remind myself that in the past those goals were the only things that were important to me and I have to go back to that mindset in order to stay sane in the sport".

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"What you want athletes to do is say, 'I'm afraid, ' " Denise Shull, who also helps Wall Street traders and fund managers harness their emotions, tells the New York Times. Skiing in her favorite discipline after already registering an Olympic start should only calm the nerves she experienced Thursday.

Moelgg, who went out first, was more than mindful of Shiffrin's threat.

Shiffrin's mother said skipping the Super-G isn't a big deal, however. Her 81 World Cup wins put her just five off the all-time record of Ingemar Stenmark.

In Sochi, an 18-year-old Shiffrin won gold in slalom but finished fifth in GS. She will defend that title Friday.

The weather was almost ideal for racing, with temperatures around 21 degrees Fahrenheit (minus-6 Celsius) and a light wind. It was a stark contrast to the past few days when three of the four opening Alpine races were postponed because of bad weather.

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The 22-year-old graduate of Burke Mountain Academy needed only 2 minutes and 20.02 seconds to top the podium of alpine skiing's giant slalom. Friday brings the slalom. Now 22, the American made good on that goal during her much-anticipated debut race, skiing with power and objective, and won gold! She's certainly off to a flying start, falling to the snow in excitement after her win. The only thing that might slow her down is exhaustion, due to a compact schedule thanks to all the delays. "It's super cool", added Shiffrin, who has posted 41 World Cup victories.

The flip-flopping of events has been particularly burdensome. "And true champions are able to produce that whenever it's needed", said Mike Day, the lead coach of the USA women's team. "At this point, the hard days are just motivation for actually getting to compete".

"The conditions are great, the weather is attractive and Im excited to see what I can do. We will show you the best of us at Beijing Games". Bergsma took the silver and Nicola Tumolero of Italy earned the bronze.

"I'm kind of speechless".

"I really feel it's just me out there", Shiffrin said.

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"But to do it on demand like that (in run two) is absolutely unbelievable".

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