Shiffrin on the Unknowns of the Upcoming Season, Featured in Ski Racing
Two-time Olympic champion, Land Rover Ambassador and winningest slalom skier of all-time Mikaela Shiffrin recently caught up with Mackenzie Moran from Ski Racing Media, prior to her on-snow camp at Official Training Site Timberline Lodge and Ski Resort in Mt. Hood, Ore. for a profile heading into the 2020-21 FIS Ski World Cup season.
With the global pandemic wreaking havoc on the United States, there are many unknowns for Mikaela and her fellow Land Rover U.S. Alpine Ski Team athletes heading into the 2020-21 season, which is slated to feature the 2021 FIS Ski World Championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy.
In the piece, Mikaela discusses everything from COVID and quarantine to becoming her own CEO and beyond.
Mikaela Shiffrin: winningest slalom skier of all time (43). World Cup record-holder for most wins in a single season (17). Fulfilled child prodigy on track to become the winningest female skier of all time (currently with 66). Three-time World Cup overall champion, two-time Olympic gold medalist.
Her athletic accolades continue to accumulate. But Shiffrin’s goal ahead of the 2020-21 season is not to break more records; it’s to set the record straight. For over a year, Shiffrin’s personal life has slowly unraveled into a state of turmoil. The season ended abruptly, without closure, after an attempted comeback in Are, Sweden. Then, the COVID-19 outbreak consumed the world and sent Shiffrin and the U.S. Ski Team home without a satisfying conclusion to the season.
Rather than a return to normalcy, finding solace and escape through skiing, the 25-year-old woman became physically isolated, like most of the world, and was forced to wade through an uncharted territory of emotions in ways she’d never imagined.
“Everybody keeps saying 2020 really stinks because of COVID. But this stay-at-home order is the only thing that’s allowing us to bring back some sanity or any kind of control over our lives.”
Mackenzie and Mikaela also touch on the logistical issues associated with the current global landscape, and how that might affect American athletes heading into the upcoming season.
Physically getting to Europe will be a whole other battle. Travelers from the United States are currently barred from entering the European Union. Shiffrin’s passport is also nearly unusable, not because it’s about to expire, but because there isn’t a lot of room left for stamps. (And the U.S. passport office has been taking its time getting her a new one.) In light of the restrictions, Shiffrin is investigating and working toward visa exceptions, not just for her, but for her team personnel and teammates. She questions when getting to Europe will even be possible, if at all. She recently reached out to the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee to pressure the organization to find solutions sooner rather than later. FIS has not yet canceled Soelden, and October is quickly approaching. If she manages to get across the pond, returning stateside may not be an option. She’ll be in good company, as every American athlete in Europe this winter will likely face a choice: to commit and stay for seven months or remain in the U.S.