For Mikaela Shiffrin, the third time was the charm.
The Edwards, Colorado, native finished in the top three in Friday’s super-G, the third event he has competed in at these Winter Games. First and foremost, the world’s most famous skier appeared to regain her confidence and rhythm on the slopes.
The disqualifications she suffered in her first two Olympic races helped Shiffrin find her flow in the super-G on Friday in Beijing, skiing with the usual athletic, aggressive fluidity that has created an increasingly unassailable World Cup resume over the previous decade.
While others were nervously sprinting down the high ridgeline segment of the 1984-meter “Rock” course, this 26-year-old was tearing down the flat bottom stretch, where the race was unexpectedly decided.
After the first two checkpoints, she had an early lead, but she took a wide route into the Haituo Bowl and entered the Canyon with just 0.38 seconds to spare. It was good enough for ninth place with a timing of 1:14.30.
Shiffrin, who is best recognized for her slalom abilities, has also won gold in the super-G at the World Championships in 2019. She won bronze in the 2021 World Championships in the event. Although she had never won an Olympic gold medal in a speed event before to Friday’s race, it was evident that she was competing to regain her self-confidence. Shiffrin, who was clearly starving, complimented Lara Gut-Behrami, who was sitting in the leader’s chair at the bottom of the podium.
Goggia, a member of Italy’s national team, did not make the cut. In January, the downhill expert had a knee injury in Cortina, Italy. After two training runs on Thursday, she decided to withdraw from the super-G. “I can’t guarantee anything, not even my participation in the downhill,” the defending downhill gold medalist told Gazzetta dello Sport. Because of the immense stress, I sobbed nonstop all morning.
Trying to defend her Olympic crown, Ester Ledecka was the second skier on the course. While only competing in three of the super-G events this season, she posted a time of 1:13.94 to set the early standard. Her highest finish was ninth. However, Austrian Mirjam Puchner bettered the mark on the very next run, erasing her prospects of a repeat. Throughout the competition, it became clear that Puchner had figured out how to ride the canyon. As the race progressed, a pattern of riders leading at the top of the route and then standing puzzled at the finish emerged.
Defending champion Lara Gut-Behrami, who also won the World Cup globe in the discipline, also made time at the summit. However, she was able to grab the lead from Puchner by cracking the canyon’s code. It was excellent enough for the top prize. Gut-Swiss Behrami’s colleague, Michelle Gisin, won bronze, while Puchner claimed silver.
After winning six of seven World Cup super-G races, the Italians came into the Olympics as heavy favorites. Federica Brignone, the three-time winner and current points leader in the discipline, commanded the most attention. The Italian was down by 0.49 seconds at the time of the second split. In spite of his best efforts, the four-time Olympian was unable to place in the top three and finished seventh.
U.S. Olympic spokesperson: “Mikaela (nor her mother/coach Eileen) will not be doing any media for the foreseeable future.” Shiffrin’s remark came after her disqualifications in the giant slalom and slalom. “I appreciate your consideration of her/their privacy at this time.
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