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Mikaela Shiffrin at the 2017 FIS Ski World Championships. Photo © Red Bull Media House

Mikaela Shiffrin Places Fourth in Slalom, Misses Podium in Surprising Upset

After winning gold in the giant slalom race on Wednesday, Mikaela Shiffrin fell short in the slalom—her signature event and a race she was widely expected to win.


It was a wild 24 hours for Mikaela Shiffrin. After coming from behind to win a gold medal in the giant slalom race Thursday morning (Wednesday night in North America), the 22-year-old phenom was inundated by media and stayed up for a medal ceremony that didn’t start until after 8 p.m. local time. She wasn’t asleep until 10 p.m., nearly two hours later than her normal bedtime.  The next morning (Thursday evening in North America), she took to the hill for the women’s slalom event—a race she was widely expected to win. At the very least, she seemed like a lock to earn a medal.

The Eagle-Vail native has been the most dominant slalom skier in the world since she took home gold in the event four years ago at the Sochi Olympics. But, as she would later tell NBC, when she got to the top of the mountain, she didn’t feel like herself. She vomited before her first run and skied her way into fourth place, .48 seconds behind the leader. She had several hours to rest before her second run (fastest combined time wins).


She took a nap and returned to the top of the course, where—despite a shaky first run—it still seemed likely she would make up the time and race her way to gold. And through the first several gates, she was on pace to do just that. She skied the top of the course well, but was a little sloppy through the middle section and finished .08 seconds out of first place. She sat in second until two of the final three women beat her time and bumped Shiffrin out of medal contention. Frida Hansdotter of Sweden took home the gold.

“I’m disappointed,” she told NBC shortly after the race. “I didn’t ski like myself today. Slalom is an event I’ve been confident and powerful with all season. I don’t know. I skied sorta weak today.”

The fourth place finish ends Shiffrin’s quest to win four gold medals in PyeongChang. She has decided not to race in the super-G race Saturday morning (Friday evening in North America) but plans to race the downhill and alpine combined events next week. Though slalom is her best discipline, she looks to be a contender in the remaining races, as well. Lindsey Vonn—the four-time Olympian who lives in Vail—begins her 2018 Olympics tonight with the super-G race and will join Shiffrin in the downhill and alpine combine races next week.

For an update on how the rest of Colorado’s Olympians are performing, follow along here.

Jay Bouchard, Digital Assistant Editor

Jay writes and edits stories for 5280.com and assists the digital team with social media and online strategy.

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