U.S. Alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin became the youngest person to ever win the slalom, but the feeling is that her Olympic debut is a sign of bigger things to come. Shiffrin seems to agree … and blurted out a rather bold dream of winning five Olympic medals in 2018.
She shared that star-caliber mixture of moxie and humility with Bob Costas and also the Associated Press in the glow of her gold from Friday.
“I don’t want to push myself too far too fast. Definitely don’t get greedy. But at the same time, I’m a dreamer,” Shiffrin said.
“Right now, I’m dreaming of the next Olympics (and) winning five gold medals, which sounds really crazy,” she said. “I’m sorry I just admitted that to you all.”
MORE: Confidence key for Shiffrin
She might be, as that sets some wild expectations for the skiing wunderkind. That’s part of the tremendous charm with the 18-year-old star, though; she seems like a natural as she puts together technically proficient runs and takes the time to wink at a nearby camera afterward.
On her flight to the Olympics, Shiffrin made a note to herself that “it’s OK to be confident here” and she’s certainly delivered. Now her new goal is simply to do what no other skier has done by sweeping all five Alpine skiing disciplines.
“When I’m done I hope that I can look back and say that I changed the sport, that I was innovative and created a new way of skiing and pushed women’s ski racing to be faster and more athletic and more exciting for people to watch,” Shiffrin said. “And really put on a show.”
She already pulled off that last part.
Australian golfer Marc Leishman will miss the Rio Olympics due to his wife’s health.
“Many of you may know that last April my children and I almost lost my wife, Audrey, to toxic shock syndrome,” Leishman said in a statement. “Since then Audrey has been prone to infection and is far removed from 100 percent recovery of her immune system.
“We have consulted with Audrey’s physician and due to her ongoing recovery from toxic shock and potential risks associated with the transmission of the Zika virus, it was a difficult yet easy decision not to participate.
“I missed playing in the 2015 Masters tournament to be at her side when she was originally stricken and I cannot risk placing her health in jeopardy.
“The Masters and the Olympics are the two biggest tournaments to which a golfer can be invited; however, my family will always come before golf.”
Leishman, 32 with one PGA Tour win, joined the projected Olympic field when countryman Adam Scott said last month that he would skip Rio.
World No. 1 Jason Day is assured one of two Olympic spots for Australian men when the 60-man field is determined based on July 11 world rankings.
With No. 7 Scott and No. 35 Leishman out, the next-best Aussie is No. 63 Marcus Fraser.
Three more major champions — Vijay Singh, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel — also said in April they would not compete in Rio.
Golf returns to the Olympics for the first time since 1904.
MORE: Australia Olympic legend blasts Adam Scott
Rory McIlroy believes golf may not remain in the Olympics after 2020 following a string of major champions announcing they will skip the sport’s return at the Rio Games.
“Because of how [Olympic golf is] being approached in golf circles … I’m not sure if we’re going to have another opportunity to win a gold medal after [Tokyo 2020],” McIlroy said ahead of the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday.
In 2009, the International Olympic Committee voted to re-add golf and rugby to the Olympic program for the 2016 Olympics, with a review in 2017 if they would remain for the 2020 Olympics.
In 2013, Tokyo was elected host city for the 2020 Olympics with a plan that includes golf.
Beyond 2020, golf does not yet have a place in the Olympics. Its chances for the 2024 Olympics could come into focus when that host city is chosen in September 2017.
McIlroy, ranked No. 3 in the world, has repeated he will play for Ireland in the first Olympic golf tournament since 1904 in Rio in August.
Fellow major champions Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Vijay Singh said last month they will not play in the Rio Olympics.
MORE: Golf Channel’s Olympic broadcast schedule