Yanqing, China – Michaela Shiffrin’s last chance to win an individual medal at the Beijing Olympics on Thursday comes in the women’s Alpine combined area – one round of downhill in the morning followed by one round of slalom in the afternoon.
Shiffrin, 26, won the silver medal in the combined competition four years ago in Pyeongchang. But her Olympics has so far been defined by skating frustrations early in the first round of both giant slalom and slalom – two disciplines in which she has won gold medals at previous Olympics.
“It’s just important to be able to break up the downhill race – focusing entirely on the downhill – and then start the slalom part of the day as if it were a new day, which is really hard. The days combined are long, and the events couldn’t be more opposite. It’s like Doing two different sports in one day. That is the biggest challenge.”
Prior to the Olympics, Shiffrin – perhaps the most active and versatile skater in the world – would have been considered a near-medal lock-in in the group. But her mishaps in the events of her signature leave everything in doubt. Slovakian Petra Velhova, perhaps one of her greatest rivals in the group, left China earlier this week with an injury. But Michel Geisen and Wendy Holder of Switzerland – who won gold and bronze, respectively, in 2018 – should be on the field.
“Nothing is guaranteed, and that’s the first lesson I think a lot of people learn in the Olympics, that there is no guarantee of anything,” said Shiffrin, who finished 17th in the downhill on Tuesday. “Not for performance or results.”
In downhill practice on Wednesday, Shiffrin set the fastest time on the court, with Holder second – 93 seconds back – and Jezzine fourth.
Shiffrin also plans to compete in the mixed team event on Saturday, joining teammates Paula Moltzan, River Radmus and Tommy Ford.
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