High Winds Keep Mikaela Shiffrin Waiting for Her First Chance at Gold
US ski star Mikaela Shiffrin‘s bid for a first gold of the Winter Olympics in South Korea was put on hold after high winds forced the women’s giant slalom to be postponed.
Shiffrin, 22, became the youngest Olympic slalom champion when she won gold in Sochi as an 18-year-old and is tipped to win multiple medals in Pyeongchang.
She is set to compete in slalom, giant slalom and the combined (downhill and slalom) and will decide whether to add the super-G, downhill and team event to her schedule.
The slalom is scheduled for Wednesday with the giant slalom now set to take place Thursday at Yongpyong Alpine Centre. The rescheduling of events, however, may affect her decision over which disciplines to compete in.
High winds also disrupted the alpine schedule at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre Sunday, with conditions forcing the men’s downhill to be postponed until Thursday.
Gusts of 50 mph made it impossible for the gondolas taking the skiers up the mountain to be safely operated.
The men’s alpine combined downhill training run, scheduled for Monday, was also canceled, while the men’s super-G has been rescheduled for Friday to make way for the men’s downhill.
Sunday’s women’s slopestyle qualification event, held at Phoenix Park, was also called off because of high winds and the Monday’s final was delayed for over an hour before being won by defending champion Jamie Anderson of Team USA.
With strong crosswinds, only five of the 25 riders completed their first run properly and all fell on at least one run.
A number of athletes complained the conditions were dangerous and the wind made the competition “unfair.”
Austria’s Anna Gasser, who fell on both runs and finished 15th, said the event was “not a good show for women’s snowboarding.”
However, organizers said safety was their “first priority,” according to International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams.
Anderson admitted conditions were tough, but said she used her “lion power” to pull off a gold medal-winning performance.
“I had a lot of pressure and I’m just so proud of myself,” she said.
“I wanted to do a double nine on my first run and I went for it and realized I wasn’t going to clear the jumps. Thankfully somehow I connected with my lion power and found (my) feet.
“It’s hard. We have to be so intuitive with the weather, the course, with how you feel. I’m just so happy I put one down and I really didn’t think it was going to last over to the second run. I was planning on doing a better run and cleaning everything up, but honestly, I’m ecstatic.”