Mikaela Shiffrin is looking to become the first Alpine skier, male or female, to successfully defend an Olympic slalom title. But she’ll have work to do.
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — As the late, great Tom Petty said, the waiting is the hardest part.
Mikaela Shiffrin made it look — almost — easy.
Confronted with weather-related delays that pushed back the start of her 2018 Winter Games. the American ski star captured the keen mental edge it takes to ski on the edge, but not beyond, to win Olympic gold in the women’s giant slalom.
In Sochi, an 18-year-old Shiffrin won gold in slalom but finished fifth in GS. She vowed to become No. 1 in GS, too.
Turning 23 next month, she is now a two-time Olympic champion, winner of a first medal for the United States in women’s giant slalom since Julia Mancuso’s Torino 2006 gold. Shiffrin is also just the sixth woman in Olympic history to win gold in both the slalom and giant slalom, joining the likes of Andrea Mead-Lawrence of the United States and Croatia’s Janica Kostelić.
More incredible, perhaps: Shiffrin is just getting started here in PyeongChang. She skis the slalom on Friday.
American standout Mikaela Shiffrin has turned in a fast first run of the giant slalom to kick off her Pyeongchang Olympics.
She finished 0.20 seconds behind current leader Manuela Moelgg of Italy.
Shiffrin got wide on a few turns, but other than that was solid through the tight course. She’s in good position for the final run, around 11:45 pm ET.
The 22-year-old finished fifth in the giant slalom at the 2014 Sochi Games. She’s the defending Olympic slalom champion.