The Winter Olympics is full of harrowing moments, and also heartbreaking ones. Mikaela Shiffrin, unfortunately, had one of the latter.
This was supposed to be a big event for the United States. More importantly for Shiffrin, it was set to be her run to a third Olympic Gold Medal. In what Maria Taylor was only able to call “Gold Medal heartbreak,” Shiffrin began her final run and was disqualified, within 6 seconds.
Missing a gate right out of the start put her run to an end. She had already made a mistake in a previous run and this was her last chance. As she realized what had happened, Shiffrin skied to the edge of the course and sat in the snow. Announcers found it difficult to find the words as the two-time Olympic champion and three-time World Champion held her head down, skis off.
Shiffrin was expected to be a huge highlight in the United States experience at the Winter Olympics. However, these things happen. Shiffrin is still an all-time great, and a wonderful representative for the United States on the world stage. Even after NBC cut to commercial, Shiffrin was unable to move from her spot on the ground.
“I think I just slipped,” she said to NBC’s Todd Lewis. “I mean I had every intention to go full gas and there wasn’t any space in the course to slip, not even a little bit. … Today I went out my fifth gate.”
While it wasn’t the run that she wanted or the Winter Olympics she imagined, there is a lot to be proud of. However, it is clear that this is going to take some time to process for the Olympian.
Shiffrin Taking a ‘Second Guess’ at Career after Winter Olympics Run
While it was clear that Shiffrin was going through a lot there on the side of the course, she did offer some insight into her immediate reaction.
“Everything…makes me second guess like the last 15 years,” she said while sighing. “Everything I thought I knew about my own skiing and slalom and racing mentality. Um, just processing a lot for sure.”
The good news for Shiffrin is that she does have three more events. While the slalom is her signature event, she could still have success in these others. The Super-G is on Thursday. Then, next Monday, the Downhill. Her final event in these Winter Olympics will be Wednesday during the Combined.
“I feel really bad,” Shiffrin continued. “There’s a lot more going on today than just my little situation. I feel really bad for…for doing that.”
I’ll say this, I don’t think anyone watching the Winter Olympics is going to fault Shiffrin for anything. A champion with her history and record deserves support in moments like this from fans and supporters back home.