BEIJING (AP) — Mikaela Shiffrin threw her head back and laughed at the thought of entering the maximum Alpine skiing events possible at the Beijing Olympics — six — which she confirmed Tuesday she’s intending to do.
She jokingly called it “a really bad idea.”
After coming in 18th in the downhill, about 2 1/2 seconds behind gold medalist Corinne Suter of Switzerland, Shiffrin looked ahead to participating in the combined race on Thursday and the team event that wraps up the Alpine schedule on Saturday.
Shiffrin’s two career Winter Games golds were in the slalom in 2014 and the giant slalom in 2018; she also earned a silver in the combined four years ago and could contend again.
That discipline adds the times from one downhill run and one slalom run.
She is far less experienced in the downhill, and she talked about Tuesday’s race as if it constituted a form of preparation, calling it “another run under my belt for the coming days.”
“It’s just important to be able to compartmentalize the downhill run — fully focus on the downhill run — and then start the slalom portion of the day as if it’s a new day. And that’s really hard to do,” the 26-year-old from Colorado said. “Combined days are long and the events could not be more opposite. It’s like doing two different sports in one single day, so that’s the biggest challenge: Try to execute a downhill and then just let the downhill go and execute the slalom.”
When she is at her very best, she is among the most versatile ski racers there are. That’s part of why she has accomplished as much as she has, including three overall World Cup titles.
But Shiffrin has not produced her very best in Beijing.
“I mean, right now, nothing is guaranteed. And that’s the No. 1 lesson that I think many people learn at the Olympic Games — that there is no guarantee for anything. Not for performance or results,” she said. “But I think every day that I get on this track and I’m able to take a run, and just do a solid run top to bottom, it gives me the chance to be a little bit more calm in my mind. I tend to think way too much and that makes it hard to ski freely.”
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