PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) – American Mikaela Shiffrin will enter the report books if she will be able to win Wednesday’s Olympic ladies’s slalom occasion on the Yongpyong Alpine Centre.
The dominant determine within the technical occasions on the ladies’s World Cup circuit, wherein she heads the general standings with 10 wins, together with 5 in slalom, the 22-year-old is a robust favourite.
Should she safe gold, she would grow to be the primary Alpine skier to efficiently defend an Olympic slalom title, following her success in Sochi.
Shiffrin would additionally grow to be the primary American skier to win a number of gold medals in a single Alpine occasion.
Such has been Shiffrin’s domination of slalom — she has additionally gained three World Championship crowns – a latest blip in her type, the place she managed only one podium in her final six races, grew to become a serious debating level amongst followers of the game.
But Shiffrin says she has arrived in Korea refreshed and prepared for the problem.
“I‘m feeling much better, much more like myself,” she stated on arrival in Pyeongchang, including that after seeing a sports activities psychologist she has been capable of re-focus.
“I’ve gotten back to my roots in skiing and reminded myself I‘m not here just for wins but I‘m here because I love the sport,” she stated.
But if Shiffrin isn’t on the high of her recreation on Wednesday there aren’t any scarcity of high quality challengers able to swoop for gold.
Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova gained in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, within the final World Cup race earlier than the Winter Games, and has been a skier to look at since her junior days.
Frida Hansdotter, 32, of Sweden is a constant podium finisher, even when she solely has 4 World Cup slalom wins to her title.
Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener, who completed runner-up to Shiffrin within the 2017 World Championship, is one other racer who might reap the benefits of any alternative having grow to be her nation’s fundamental hope following the damage to Laura Gut.
“Mikaela Shiffrin is hard to beat, she can get a medal in the games in every discipline,” stated Holdener. “I just have to accept that. She is often in a different league”.
Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty