Mikaela Shiffrin tries to smile. But it is obviously difficult for her when the 25-year-old is sitting in her hotel room in Levi, Finland on Thursday and is connected to international media via Zoom Call. On Saturday Shiffrin will make her comeback in the World Cup in Lapland, and will also start in the slalom on Sunday. In the past two years she had triumphed in Levi. But this time the question of whether it will snow on Christmas Eve is easier to answer than that of Shiffrin’s shape.
You try to meet your expectations “low“to hold on, says the American. In view of what has happened, it probably doesn’t make sense anyway,”any expectations“to have. But, she wants”good skiing“and there belong”ski fast” to.
Exactly 300 days will have passed on Saturday since she won the Super-G on January 26 in Bansko, Bulgaria. It was her last race so far. And it was a completely different time for Mikaela Pauline Shiffrin. Her life was straightforward and carefree. What she has been through since then has left its mark. “Spring, summer and autumn were the most stressful times of my life“, emphasizes Shiffrin. She is emotional”tired“.
Father dies a week after World Cup victory
A week after her World Cup victory in Bulgaria, her father Jeff sustained a serious head injury in an accident at home in Colorado. Mikaela and mother Eileen immediately flew back from Germany to the USA – and cried together in bed when the head of the family died on February 2nd. Shiffrin canceled all races in February but wanted to get back on the slopes in early March. Skiing, so their hope, could “a therapeutic effect” to have.
But when she arrived in Are, Sweden, the World Cup season was canceled prematurely due to the corona virus. The fact that Shiffrin had not won the overall World Cup for the first time since 2016 was at best a side note for her. The outstanding skier of the past few years had no time to reflect on her season. She had to take care of everything her father used to do for her from Colorado while his daughter toured World Cup to World Cup.
“Finally catch up on missed sleep“
Shiffrin has crashed courses in business, finance and investment. She has learned a lot in the past few months, cried a lot and slept little. She has been in Finland since Monday. And for the first time in a long time, Shiffrin has the feeling “Now finally to catch up on my missed sleep. Here in Levi it’s pretty dark all the time and I just can’t stop sleeping.“
Due to back problems, Shiffrin had to pass the World Cup opener in Sölden at the end of October. The ailments are cured and Shiffrin is “grateful to be here and to start again.“She sees the races”like a break. Like going on vacation.“
Psyche as “great unknown”
For the first time, she is not the defending champion in the overall World Cup and also not a favorite. And anyway, she only plans from race to race. Usually Shiffrin trained all alpine disciplines in the pre-season. This time, however, there was only time for slalom. “My eye tells me that she is in pretty good shape“, emphasizes coach Mike Day. But he knows that at Shiffrin, what matters most at the moment is what nobody can see with the naked eye – the psyche that Day calls”great unknowns” designated.
In a 30-minute conversation with the media, Shiffrin gives an insight into her thoughts. Sometimes she fights back tears. She was “incredibly angry“that her father died. And she was”angry like alone“She feels it on many days. On the other hand, she is very grateful that she has her mother with her very often,” said Shiffrin.
She has learned a lot about the meaning of resilience over the past ten months. Ultimately, according to Shiffrin, this is only “a synonym for life“and have nothing to do with how strong you are. Sometimes” resilience “simply means”get back on your feet.“And sometimes just be”get out of bed“an example of this. Or in your case: strap on your skis and go back to the World Cup.
Stand: 20.11.2020, 09:35