Mikaela Shiffrin looks ahead to adding speed races this season
Olympic slalom champion Mikaela Shiffrin plans to race super-G this season, as expected, and may also make her World Cup debut in the super combined, she told media in Austria on Monday.
“I guess you never really know how the season plays out, but my plan is to race some super-G, and I’ve had more time on my long skis this year [in preseason training] and more preparation there, so I feel comfortable, and I feel excited to race and not just nervous or scared,” Shiffrin said a little more than two weeks before the season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria. “I feel like I’m in a good place with my slalom and giant slalom, but I don’t want to let my slalom go downhill just because I’m trying super-G as well. So there’s a lot to think about.”
Shiffrin also was asked if downhill racing was possible:
“Maybe more downhill-combined, but I think I’m going to have my hands full even just doing some super-G,” she said. “I was even tired last year and the years before with only giant slalom and slalom. That’ll be a lot to think about. I want to kind of take it step by step.”
She’ll have plenty of time to think it over. The first four races of the season are in the technical events of slalom and giant slalom.
The first World Cup speed events (downhill, super-G) are the first weekend of December. The first combined race (one speed event run, one slalom run) is Dec. 19.
Shiffrin, 20, also hoped to make her World Cup super-G debut last season but opted against it after a slow start to her season in slalom, her primary event. Shiffrin eventually got back on track in slalom, repeated as World champion and three-peated as World Cup champion in that discipline.
While Shiffrin would like to become an all-around skier by adding speed events of super-G and downhill, she has said the bigger concerns are maintaining her slalom form and continuing to improve in the giant slalom.
She improved from 49th to 19th to seventh to third in the World Cup giant slalom standings the last four seasons.
“A lot of the best GS skiers are also speed skiers, and in order to ski speed fast, you have to not second-guess yourself,” Shiffrin said in March. “Just go, all-out, all the time. I don’t know if I have that skill yet.”
Shiffrin is also rising in the World Cup overall standings. She was fourth last year, behind Anna Fenninger, Tina Maze and Lindsey Vonn. Maze will sit out this season and may be done racing.
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