Mikaela Shiffrin sets target return to Alpine skiing World Cup

Mikaela Shiffrin
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Mikaela Shiffrin is expected to race for the first time in nearly 10 months at a pair of World Cup slaloms in Levi, Finland, in November after missing the first two races of the season following a back injury.

Shiffrin tweaked her back in training two weeks before the Oct. 17 season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria. She does not plan to enter the next World Cup — a parallel event, also in Austria — on Nov. 13, her agent confirmed Tuesday.

She hopes to return for back-to-back slaloms in Levi from Nov. 21-22. Shiffrin owns four victories at the resort that sits 110 miles north of the Arctic Circle, including the last two seasons.

The two-time Olympic champion said Friday that she’s doing rehab and physical therapy on her back, but hasn’t gotten significant training with gates since July.

“I’m kind of working with minimal preparation,” she said in an Olympic Channel video interview. “Hopefully start training and kind of test [the back] out. If I feel pain, then I guess I need a little longer, but I don’t think I’m going to feel pain.”

Shiffrin missed the start of a World Cup season for the first time in a career that dates to 2012, when she won her first races at age 16.

She last raced Jan. 26, then missed the rest of the abbreviated 2019-20 season after her father’s death on Feb. 2. She traveled for a potential return for the final races of last season in Sweden in March, but they ended up getting canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While Shiffrin was absent, Italian Federica Brignone passed her in the standings to win the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing.

Brignone, who was second behind countrywoman Marta Bassino in Soelden two weeks ago, said she may try to enter every race this season. Slalom is her weakest event, but her initial season schedule included those two slaloms in Levi.

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