Shiffrin and Resiliency Fund Featured in the New York Times
On September 21, two-time Olympic champion and Land Rover ambassador Mikaela Shiffrin announced the Jeff Shiffrin Athlete Resiliency Fund, in honor of her father who tragically passed away on February 2, 2020. Several international publications, including The New York Times, featured the launch of the Jeff Shiffrin Athlete Resiliency Fund.
A longtime friend of U.S. Ski & Snowboard, and esteemed journalist Bill Pennington, wrote an exclusive about Mikaela, the fund, finding her voice and speaking out on social media, as well as her return to competition amidst all of the unknowns associated with COVID-19 and beyond.
Usually at this time of year, Mikaela Shiffrin, the seven-time Olympic and world ski champion, is building the mental fortitude to dominate another ski racing season.
But the last several months have staggered and changed Shiffrin, 25. In February, while she was competing in Europe, her father, Jeff, died in an accident at home in Colorado. After taking a six-week break from competition, Shiffrin decided to return to racing only to have the season’s final events canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, denying her a last chance to defend her multiple World Cup titles.
Returning to Colorado, Shiffrin — in a first — found a more potent voice on social media in support of calls for racial justice. Many of her followers, used to cheerful workout or dance videos, mounted a bitter backlash. Shiffrin’s response: “Wanna ‘Unfollow?’ I’ll see you to the door.”
The Jeff Shiffrin Athlete Resiliency Fund campaign will benefit ALL athletes across ALL sports at U.S. Ski & Snowboard. Bill continued,
The Jeff Shiffrin Athlete Resiliency Fund, launched by U.S. Ski and Snowboard, the governing body for several Olympic winter sports, is meant to assist athletes in multiple sports whose training was cut short this year or whose travel expenses have skyrocketed in the pandemic. The fund was started by six families with a history of making winter sports donations who offered to match contributions raised through the website up to $1.5 million.
New safety guidelines and travel restrictions have ballooned the cost of transporting roughly 175 American winter sports athletes around the globe.
Tiger Shaw, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard president and chief executive, said coronavirus testing protocols alone would add $1 million to his budget. A mandated quarantine for a single team arriving in Europe from the United States might mean the added expense of housing and feeding 45 athletes and staff for 14 additional days. Adding to the fiscal strain, the organization’s biggest fund-raising events cannot be held as usual because of social distancing practices.
“We don’t want any of our athletes to feel at a disadvantage heading to the Olympics, which are coming up fast,” Shiffrin said. “We want the fund to bring awareness to how much resiliency is out there right now because everybody has conquered so much this year. Obviously, on a personal level, I feel that.”
Beyond the New York Times, Mikaela made several appearances on other media outlets to announce the new fund, including the following: