Every Olympics has its own set of heartbreaking shocks, such as an ill-timed hamstring tear or a leap that a figure skater fails to land.
Mikayla Shiffrin of the United States of America had her chance to feel that spectacular, almost bizarre sorrow on Monday in Yanqing amid beautiful blue sky and warm sunshine. Nonetheless, Shiffrin’s inability to survive a left turn early in her Beijing debut in the giant slalom lacked the dramatic flair of her sport’s explosive crashes or the harrowing experience of a famous figure skater falling through the ice.
Her skis seemed to be a bit unsteady at one point, and the next thing she knew she was sliding off the track on her left hip. When Shiffrin lost her footing on the course, she was disqualified from the competition, which continues with a second run on Monday afternoon. In her 11 years as a professional skier, she has finished just a handful of races and never failed to complete.
According to NBC Sports, Shiffrin has skied off the course in just 14 of the 229 career Olympic, World Cup, or world championship events in which she has competed, and she has done so only three times in the previous four years.
In a turn to her right, Shiffrin, 26, lost her footing and fell to the ground. She was barely pushing out of the gate into a steep, slippery slope when the incident occurred. Despite the fact that it was a little oversight, the wobble caused her to be late for the following gate, and as she attempted to recover fast, she fell on her left hip and slid to an abrupt halt. It was Shiffrin’s goal to become the first American skier in history to win three Alpine Olympic gold medals. She was the reigning champion in the event.
During her start on Monday, Shiffrin said that she “was pushing” or “felt like I was really pushing” through the turns. The fact that you’re only four or five turns into the race makes it difficult to predict how things would have turned out. The day was almost over before it had really begun to unfold. “However, I had the impression that I had the correct mindset.”
“However, even if you don’t count the medals, it’s a huge disappointment,” she said. “It’s a pretty fantastic hill, and the conditions are extremely good.”
Shiffrin has four events left in the Olympics, one of which is her greatest event, the slalom, which will take place on Wednesday. However, the giant slalom was considered one of three solid prospects for her to earn a medal, with the possibility of winning a gold.
She admitted she made a mistake in one corner and suffered the most severe consequences as a result. “But now I have to go on because there’s a lot more to come this week,” she said after leaving the finish area for slalom training on another racetrack. It’s pointless for me to weep over it since that’s a waste of time and energy. My opportunity is to go ahead and concentrate my efforts, and I believe I am in an excellent position to do so.”
After the first run, Sara Hector of Sweden retained her lead, edging Federica Brignone of Italy by 0.28 of a second. Sara Hector of Sweden won the first and second runs, respectively. Hector’s first Olympic gold came after a strong season in the giant slalom after seven years of rehabilitation after a catastrophic knee injury. It was his first medal in any sport. A bronze medal was earned by Switzerland’s Lara Gut-Behrami, who finished 0.44 seconds behind Brignone. Brignone now has a silver medal to add to her bronze medal she won in the giant slalom at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang.
American Nineteen-year-old Nina O’Brien, who had finished sixth after the first run, had a serious crash into the penultimate gate on the course in her second run and had to be treated by medical staff for many minutes just before crossing the finish line. A sled was used to transport her away from the scene.
Currently, Shiffrin has three Olympic Alpine medals from two previous Games, and if she wins one more medal in Beijing, she would equal Julia Mancuso for the most Olympic Alpine medals by an American woman. Bode Miller has six Alpine Olympic medals to his credit, which is the most in the history of the United States. Six is also the career record for the most Olympic Alpine medals won by a female athlete, which was set by Janica Kostelic of Croatia and Anja Parson of Sweden in their respective careers.