First things first for Mikaela Shiffrin: She is sure she wants to participate in every individual event of women’s alpine skiing at the Beijing Olympics.
The 26-year-old from Colorado also knows that was her goal for the most recent Winter Olympics – and things didn’t quite go according to plan at the time.
So as Shiffrin gets ready for the start of the World Cup season this month, then he looks further towards the trip to Asia in February, examining various ways he can surpass his marks for both of them. That means how you act on your skis, accelerating down a mountainside, of course, as well as areas you can improve while away from the slopes.
“Something that I dream of right now is to be able to compete in every event in China. But that means I have to do a lot more preparation mentally,” Shiffrin said from Austria on Friday, during a video conference with reporters. “Just understanding how that will affect me mentally and physically throughout, basically, the three weeks that we are there.
“So it certainly requires a lot of my focus to think: What are the boxes that we should check, even completely outside of skiing and the technique and the tactics and the physical side of things? What are the boxes that we should check? to make sure I have a certain level of comfort staying in a place I’ve never been before for three weeks and dealing with jet lag and recovering from it as quickly as possible? “
Shiffrin has won three Olympic medals, two of them gold. She has also won 69 World Cup races – only Ingemar Stenmark, at 86, and Lindsey Vonn, 82, have more in the sport’s history – along with a trio of overall titles.
Being careful to point out some caveats, including that she needs to ski well enough to earn a spot on the American team for the five individual women’s alpine skiing events in Beijing, Shiffrin would love to be at the starting gate; Giant Slalom February 7, Slalom February 9, Super-G February 11, Piste skiing February 15 and combined February 17.
Although that was the idea at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games as well, before the weather-related rescheduling contributed to Shiffrin participating in three races. She left South Korea with a gold medal in the giant slalom, silver in combined and a fourth place in the slalom.
“I definitely walked away wide-eyed after that,” Shiffrin said Friday.
“There is a box full of things that we can take out for only Olympic preparations and, how much do I care about giving my best so that all events take place? But also knowing that so many things can change, not only between now and that moment, but Just between the start of the first Olympic race until the end of the Games, that plan could change very easily. So there is that side of things, “she said. “And obviously, you go to the Olympics and hope to win medals. That’s the dream. … But then you have the World Cup season.”
Yes, she is not ignoring that.
When the calendar kicks off on October 23 in Sölden, Austria, Shiffrin will insist on living up to “another great dream” – competing for the overall trophy once again.
That wasn’t possible last season, when he avoided sprinting until the world championships after returning from a 10-month hiatus in the wake of his father’s death, the coronavirus pandemic and his injured back.
“There will never be a guarantee that I can win it again, and it is … very difficult to know if that is even a realistic goal for this season – or at some point again in my career,” Shiffrin said. “But I try to do the job to make that possible.”