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Mikaela Shiffrin’s Record-Breaking Year

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Mikaela Shiffrin’s Record-Breaking Year

Schiffrin in Switzerland in 2013.

Schiffrin in Switzerland in 2013.

Courtesy of Flachau

Schiffrin in Switzerland in 2013.

Courtesy of Flachau

Courtesy of Flachau

Schiffrin in Switzerland in 2013.

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Mikaela Shiffrin, a 23-year-old American alpine skier, had a tumultuous yet eventful 2018. This was the year she became recognized by the ski community as the most successful female slalom skier of all time. Hailing from Vail, Colorado with a father who competed for the Dartmouth College ski team, Mikaela has been skiing since she was a child. At 16-years-old in 2011, she competed in her first World Cup—the biggest international stage for ski racing. She made her first World Cup podium finish a couple months later in Åre, Sweden. Throughout the ski world, Mikaela is recognized as a unforeseen talent.

Although her success in the 2018 World Cup boosted her into the spotlight, for the past five years she has consistently been one of the top skiers in the world winning multiple Olympic medals: gold in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and both gold and silver in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Not only is Mikaela in peak physical shape, but her strong mentality has been lauded by many. When asked in an interview by Aspen Snowmass Mountain how she was able to win a World Cup title, she replied “I played through thousands of scenarios in my mind but what it came down to was my mom, coaches, and one of my friends back home reminding me to trust the feeling that I had in slalom all season long and not making that race out to seem like anything more than another race that I was fully equipped to attack.” On the slopes, Mikaela’s focus is evident as harsh conditions and immense pressure from the ski world have never seemed to faze her. 

While skiing can often be a thankless and injury-filled sport and though Mikaela was able to stay healthy for the 2018 season, her career has not been without a few injuries. In 2016, ESPN reported that she suffered a crash which resulted in her tearing her MCL, but luckily after surgery and rehab, she was back the on the slopes soon after. A recovery this rapid is rare for an injury of this severity as Lindsey Vonn has been plagued by knee injuries that resulted from her crash in 2013. Today though, there are no lingering signs of this injury and Mikaela is ready to dominate the 2019 season as a tenacious, strong, and hungry competitor.

To the rest of the public, Mikaela has always been overshadowed by Lindsey Vonn, her childhood idol and fellow U.S. ski team teammate, as the best female skier of all time. But the close of 2018 by no means signals the end to Mikaela’s excellence. On January 15th, 2019, Mikaela celebrated a first place finish in a series of World Cup races located in Cortina D’Ampezza, Italy. Competing in the same series of races, Vonn’s time didn’t even place her in the top ten finishers. So move over Lindsey Vonn, looks like Mikaela Shiffrin’s success can only go up from here! 

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