July 2, 2022

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Alpine Skiing Shiffrin Eyes Shot At Slalom Redemption After Disastrous Start

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YANQING, China, Feb 8 (Reuters) – American skier Mikaela Shiffrin will get her first shot at redemption following her disastrous start to the Winter Olympics when the women’s slalom gets underway on Wednesday.

Shiffrin was the defending Olympic champion going into Monday’s giant slalom race, but crashed out at the fifth gate in her first run, leaving Sweden’s Sara Hector to win gold.

The U.S. skier is desperate to make amends and spent the latter half of Monday practicing on the slopes after vowing to move forward from the “huge disappointment”.

“I’m not going to cry about this because that’s just wasting energy,” Shiffrin said. “I just have to put the pause button on really feeling the emotions or dwelling on it, because it just takes too much energy and I just can’t, I can’t do it.”

Unlike four years ago in Pyeongchang, Shiffrin is no longer the outright favourite in Wednesday’s race.

The 26-year-old was seen as the skier to beat at the Games in South Korea after being crowned Olympic champion in Sochi in 2014, but finished a disappointing fourth in her favourite discipline.

Since defending Olympic slalom champion Frida Hansdotter retired in 2019, new challengers have come to the fore, none more serious than Slovakian skier Petra Vlhova, who won the 2020 World Cup slalom title and has a healthy lead over second-placed Shiffrin in the World Cup slalom standings this season.

“For a long time Mikaela was better than me,” Vlhova said. “However, in the last seasons I showed clearly I am able to beat her often. We respect each other because we both know very well how difficult it is to become the best in the world.”

Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener, third in the World Cup standings in the discipline, is also in the mix, alongside fourth-placed Lena Duerr of Germany and Austria’s Katharina Liensberger, winner of the 2021 World Cup slalom title.

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