Mikaela Shiffrin. What lies behind the fate of the Olympics’ biggest loser?

It should have been an Olympic great at the peak of his strength, when he could strike five Olympic gold medals. Instead, Mikaela Shiffrin is running for the biggest loser at the Chinese Games. The list of failures of a woman who is still leading the way at the World Cup is almost unbelievable.

At the same time, the American woman won everything she could in her career. But now in Beijing? In Giant and Slalom, his strongest discipline, he came out. In the super-giant slalom, which he won at the World Championships, he finished 9th and dropped 18. By the way, the American downhill skier has recorded two World Cup victories in recent years. Beijing had become a nightmare for him. You will hardly find such a result in a sovereign star of the past.

Mikaela Shiffrin, despite being only 26 years old, has been in the limelight for ten years, since the 2012/2013 season, when as a young contender she won a staggering four World Cup slaloms. And for the fifth time, he won it at the World Cup.

During that time, he boasted an astounding 73 wins (historically second only to Lindsey Vonn – 82) at the World Cup. In addition, he has two Olympic gold medals from Sochi 2014 and Pyongyang 2018 and six titles from five consecutive World Cups.

I didn’t reach the finish line anymore. As much as 60% of my career downtime has occurred at these Olympics.

Mikaela Shiffrinova

However, the head coach of the Czech women’s national team, Eva Kurfürstová, showed how important soul is to top skiers. “Once you get knocked out, you try to forget about it in the next race and quickly get back into your best racing rhythm. But if it doesn’t work the second time around, you suddenly get into trouble.” That little thing became a giant rock, which continued to burden. The Shiffrin family didn’t care. can get rid of it.

Even after the giant failed, when he sat on the edge of the runway for 25 minutes after falling, you could see how much it hurt. And it must have hurt all its fans, experts, and of course at least some of its rivals.

“I haven’t seen the video, but I think I had a really good start, I got my pace and rhythm. I felt a very full acceleration from the first gate,” he told reporters after the failed combination. “I don’t feel the pressure there – I mean, there’s always pressure, but I don’t feel it. I feel relaxed and focused, I’m going according to plan, but it still doesn’t work.”

Competitors, especially in technical disciplines, often fall like pears. Clement Noel, the new Olympic slalom winner, can talk about it too. But Shiffrin never had this in his racing DNA. When you add up the failures in these games, there are as many as four years before that.

“I don’t make it to the finish line anymore. 60% of the downtime in my career happened at this Olympics,” said a devastated Shiffrin. There was only one thing that could comfort him – that he wasn’t injured, that he was healthy. But explain it to most skiers. world famous in recent years.

He may seem to have overcome all the problems before. The worst was the unexpected death of his father in February 2020. Mikaela Shiffrin interrupted the season, returned to her family and returned at the end of the World Cup in Are, Sweden. However the race was canceled due to the pandemic. The American skier is thus bound to lose his fourth consecutive win overall at the World Cup.

The skier admits that grief complicates his relationship with skiing. Even before the Olympics, he said that his father’s death combined with a back injury in early 2021 and the pandemic had kept him off skiing for a long time. Maybe that emotional break was Shiffrin’s strength. Coupled with this was the hidden fatigue that had crept into his ten years in the limelight, the perpetual pressure to win.

The other side of success

Many top skiers also experience snow conditions that are very different in Beijing from any they have experienced. Obviously, this influenced Shiffrin and, for example, Petra Vlhová in the opening phrase. However, the Slovak overcame it in the next slalom and won almost with a winning miracle. However, the American is out again and things could break down there. Even though he finished the next speed race, the 9th and 18th places could not be restored due to losing his confidence.

Sports stars enjoy not only fame and often very well-deserved money from wins and medals. He also has an avoided face. Bleacherreport.com is reminiscent of some famous star meltdowns. Last summer in Tokyo, American gymnast Simone Biles suddenly stopped competing in the middle of the women’s team final. Shortly after, he revealed that his body knew the moves he should make, but that his mind was completely blocked. Tennis player Naomi Osaka turned down the press conference and later withdrew from the French Open altogether. Michael Phelps admits how suicidal thoughts forced him to be hospitalized after the 2012 Olympics. And these are just the most spectacular examples.

Athletes are under immense pressure today and their environment may not always know how their mental state greatly affects physical strength. This probably happened to Mikaela Shiffrin.

Lance Heptinstall

"Hardcore zombie fan. Incurable internet advocate. Subtly charming problem solver. Freelance twitter ninja."

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