YANQING, CHINA – Michaela Shiffrin is the greatest slalom skater in the history of her sport, and on Thursday afternoon, all she needed was one clean run. One turn to reverse course heartbreak Last week and left Beijing goldfish.
I sped to fifth after Thursday’s downhill stage combined, ahead of all the other slalom professionals in the field. She needed, simply put, to complete a race she won more than any woman ever, including at the Olympics as a teenager.
She had to do the thing she had spent most of her life preparing to do,
“It wasn’t too much to ask for too much,” she said.
And for the second week in a row, she couldn’t.
Shiffrin, who entered the 2022 Olympics with a dream of multiple medals, failed to finish Thursday’s slalom, her last singles event. Her skate hit the gate, causing her to fall off the ice, for the third time in three technical runs at these games.
This came after she had already done the hard part. 1:32.98 in the downhill put her ahead of her fellow slalomists by 0.13 (Federica Brignoni), 0.43 (Wendy Holder) and 0.44 (Michelle Gisin). The four ladies ahead of her – led by Kristen Scheer, 0.56sec behind – had little experience in slalom.
But since then I’ve skated from a giant slalom and meander Last week, Shiffrin had recurring nightmares about the failure of another fifth gate. “In theory, it’s a good place to be,” Penn Gray said Thursday. But “I don’t feel completely confident in the slalom.”
A version of those nightmares became a reality. The fifth gate has passed. But not far. It rotates towards the side of the course. Her shoulders sank.
The day before, I felt calm. Tired, but ready. The training “was really cool,” she said. On Thursday, between runs, I “felt good” in the slalom slalom. Its start was “good”.
And then, she said, “I was off track again.”
Shiffrin arrived in Yanqing and dreamed of several gold. She has none, and now has another chance for the medal, at Saturday’s mixed-team parallel event. You will compete alongside Paula Moltzan, Radamus River and Tommy Ford. The United States does not prefer gold, but it can compete for a place on the podium.
But for Shiffrin, the disappointment goes beyond the medals. “The most frustrating thing,” she said, “is that I have so many opportunities to slalom on this track. And I—well, you know—failed on all of them.”