Like the majority of the world’s population, alpine skiing star Mikaela Shiffrin endured a tumultuous 2020.
The American lost her beloved father Jeff in February 2020, just as COVID-19 cases were beginning to spread around the globe.
Grief, the coronavirus pandemic and injury meant Shiffrin was unable to take to the slopes for some time, and when she did, she decided to focus solely on slalom and giant slalom events.
As a result, the 26-year-old lost her dominance in the Alpine Ski World Cup. Shiffrin went into the 2020 season with three successive World Cup titles behind her, but ultimately placed second after missing the back-end of the campaign due to her father’s death.
She then came fourth in the 2021 season, with her final position heavily impacted by her decision to skip the speed World Cup events.
With the 2022 Alpine Ski World Cup set to start this weekend, Shiffrin is back, and looking to regain her dominance. She has revealed she hopes to compete in more speed events, with the upcoming Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics surely in the back of her mind.
GiveMeSport Women takes a look at the star that is Mikaela Shiffrin.
Who is Mikaela Shiffrin?
Shiffrin grew up in an avid family of skiers. Both her parents were former ski racers, and Shiffrin showed an aptitude for the sport from an early age.
She began competing on the FIS circuit in 2010 aged 14, taking a slalom bronze medal at the FIS Junior World Ski Championships in the same year.
Shiffrin made her World Cup debut in March 2011, then becoming the youngest ever American ski racer to claim a national alpine crown by winning the slalom at the US National Championships.
Since then, Shiffrin has won 69 World Cup races, the 2nd most all time by a female alpine skier, behind only Lindsey Vonn. This includes 45 World Cup slalom races, the most won by any alpine skier, male or female.
She is a three-time overall World Cup champion and a six-time winner of the World Cup slalom discipline.
The American also has two Olympic gold medals to her name. She became the youngest slalom champion in Olympic history at Sochi 2014, before triumphing in the giant slalom at Pyeongchang 2018.
Having endured a turbulent 18 months, Shiffrin now has the chance to get back to winning ways at both the World Cup and Olympic Games.
The first Alpine Ski World Cup event of the season is scheduled to take place in Sölden in Austria on Saturday.