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Plagued by nightmares, Shiffrin rediscovers fun in super-G

Plagued by nightmares, Shiffrin rediscovers fun in super-G

Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States in action during the Beijing Winter Olympics women's super-G at the National Alpine Skiing Centre in Yanqing District, Beijing, on Feb 11, 2022. (Photo: Reuters/Christian Hartmann)

YANQING DISTRICT, Beijing: Plagued by repeated nightmares after a brutally disappointing Beijing Olympics so far, United States skier Mikaela Shiffrin said that she found relief and even fun in skiing the super-G on Friday (Feb 11).

Having arrived at the Games touted as one of the main medal contenders, Shiffrin failed to finish her first two races after passing only a handful of gates, leaving a big question mark over whether she might pull out of the Olympics altogether.

But on Friday, she finished 0.79 seconds behind winner Lara Gut-Behrami of Switzerland in ninth place in the super-G, which is not her main discipline but where she nevertheless ranks seventh in the World Cup standings.

"I had a dream last night that was just repetitive the whole night long. And I kept kind of waking up from it, and then going back to sleep. And it just kept happening that I skied out on the fifth gate," Shiffrin told reporters.

Austria's Mirjam Puchner claimed silver and Gut-Behrami's team-mate Michelle Gisin took the bronze.

Shiffrin said that she did not start on Friday expecting to win, but that it was the right decision to turn up and race anyway.

"It's a really big relief to be here now ... I wasn't skiing safe or anything, but I also did get to the finish. And that's really nice for my heart to know that it's not totally abandoning everything I thought I knew about the sport."

"I just feel a little bit more settled, a little bit quieter ... There was nothing sad about today ... You come out here and it's a beautiful track, a beautiful day, really good conditions and super-G is really fun to ski."

While acknowledging that she had received a lot of support since her aborted slalom and giant slalom races, the three-time overall World Cup alpine skiing champion and three-time Olympic medallist also said that it was tough seeing the media reaction to her performances.

"There are two sides to the coin. On the one hand, it's just the most incredible feeling to have so many people reaching out and sending support and just showing so much kindness," she said.

"We're supposed to be kind to ourselves and that's okay, but I do consider it a failure. I mean, I think a lot of people do, but it's just tough to see that word in the headline of an article and it feels like clickbait.

"They're just harsh words but, I mean, I've finally come to terms with that being a little bit part of what we're doing here. And I've had a lot of moments where I didn't fail, as well. So it all comes out in the wash in the end, but in the moment, it's a very hard pill to swallow."

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Source: Reuters/kg


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