In the last three months, many people contacted Mikaela Shiffrin and her family to share stories about her late father, Jeff. Shiffrin learned more about her dad, and for that, she’s thankful.
Plenty of the messages came from Jeff’s patients over the years. He was an anesthesiologist.
“He was there for the moments when people go in for surgery when they’re the most scared,” Shiffrin told Rebecca Lowe on NBCSN’s Lunch Talk Live on Tuesday. “He was the person who made them feel comfortable. So many people got in touch with us to say, ‘I don’t know your dad, but he was my anesthesiologist. He changed his schedule around because he recognized my name through some strange kind of connection from way back when, family connection, or I don’t know. He saw my name on the surgery list, and he changed his schedule around just so he could come see me because he knew I was alone and didn’t have family and he wanted to make me more comfortable.’
“Basically thanking him through us, I guess,” she continued. “Obviously, he’s so important to us and to my family, but when you see the broader impact, that’s really special. That’s been a really, really special thing. At the same time, you wish you could have known those things when he was here.”
Some of Shiffrin’s favorite moments with her dad came at the Olympics in 2014 and 2018. Not necessarily seeing him at her races, but away from the competition and the cameras.
“The quiet moments,” she said. “When I got to kind of break way from the Olympics, all the Olympic hype and just watch a TV show with my parents or a movie or make some pasta or something. The normal-life moments that you have, but you have it during the Olympics.”
Shiffrin said in early March that the stories she’s heard about her dad became, in many ways, her family’s lifeline.
“I’d like to say that this will be something that I can use as strength,” in future races, she said Tuesday, “but I think there’s going to be moments where everything is a little bit harder because of it, too.”
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