Alpine skiing star Mikaela Shiffrin has admitted her Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics has been a “failure” so far.
Shiffrin is considered one of the best alpine skiers in the world, earning two Olympic gold medals and three overall World Cup titles during her career.
She has struggled to make an impact at Beijing 2022, however, crashing out of the slalom and giant slalom races earlier this week. The American was the defending champion in the latter discipline.
Shiffrin managed to make it down the mountain in the Super-G this morning, but did not place on the podium. She placed ninth with a time of 1:14.30.
“I feel a lot more positive and a little bit of relief after skiing the super-G to know that it’s not so difficult,” Shiffrin told NBC after the race.
“Good skiing is good skiing. And I can really go for that. So I don’t know, I feel a lot more optimistic right now.”
Despite feeling more positive about her performances, Shiffrin still admitted that her Games so far had ultimately been a failure.
“Right now it really stings,” she said. “And I feel disappointed from the giant slalom and the slalom race.
“That disappointment is huge. And I know a lot of people feel it and I feel bad for kind of letting myself down or letting down the world…
“I would never have expected to feel in this moment – severely underperforming in an Olympics – I would never have felt that humans could be so kind.
“I never would’ve expected that the most surprising thing of my Olympic experience is how kind people have been in the face of my failure.
“I mean, it is failure. It’s OK to say that. I am OK with that and I’m sorry for it, but I also was trying and I’m proud of that.”
Shiffrin confirmed she would compete in the downhill and combined events next week. If she is to win a gold medal in either, she will become the most decorated American skier of all time.
“I’ll try to reset again, and maybe try to reset better this time,” she said. “But I also don’t know how to do it better because I’ve never been in this position before and I don’t know how to handle it.”
Shiffrin has endured a tumultuous couple of years. The 26-year-old 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.
If she was to medal at Beijing 2022, it was expected she would do so in either discipline. She must now try to perform at the highest level in her less-favoured events.