Mikaela Shiffrin made her first trip to a Grand Slam a memorable one — watching courtside as Rafael Nadal won his 11th French Open title on Sunday.
The 2014 and 2018 Olympic Alpine skiing champion has played recreational tennis since childhood and sometimes against her mother, Eileen, who “spent three hours a day hitting a tennis ball against a wall” as a kid.
Shiffrin said she was “blown away” by the level of play between Nadal and runner-up Dominic Thiem of ski-mad Austria.
Shiffrin was one of many stars in attendance for finals weekend at Roland Garros. She shared Court Philippe Chatrier with Hugh Grant, Pau Gasol, Zinedine Zidane and Roger Waters on Sunday.
Legendary Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci attended Saturday’s women’s final won by countrywoman Simona Halep.
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With a bronze medal in Lake Placid earlier today, Kendall Wesenberg became the first American to reach the World Cup podium in skeleton in two years.
Wesenberg, who finished 17th at her first Olympics in PyeongChang, had a combined time of 1:51.10 in Lake Placid. Prior to today, her last podium finish at the World Cup was in St. Moritz in January 2017.
“This has never been my strongest track, so we really broke it down piece by piece, and I think it paid off,” Wesenberg said, according to USA Bobsled and Skeleton. “The second run, I kind of tried to throw it away at the top there. By the time I made it to corner 10, I was just thinking ‘build speed, build speed.”
Wesenberg, 28, grew up in California’s Central Valley, but her interest in sliding sports piqued while watching the 2010 Vancouver Games. When the commentators discussed the athletic backgrounds of the athletes, Wesenberg realized she played some of the same sports growing up. A quick Google search brought her to the USA Bobsled and Skeleton page. She told her siblings she was thinking of trying skeleton. They said she’d never do it. Challenge accepted.
Wesenberg emailed a U.S. coach and signed up for a combine and driving training in January 2011. Seven years later, she was sliding on Olympic ice.
Sliding coverage continues today on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, with women’s bobsled live at 3:15 p.m. ET and men’s bobsled live at 4:15.