Game -Alpine skiing-Shiffrin can make history, say Vonn and Street

Game -Alpine skiing-Shiffrin can make history, say Vonn and Street

Game

Alpine Skiing – FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Slalom – Zagreb, Croatia – January 4, 2022 Mikaela Shiffrin of the U.S. in action during her first run REUTERS/Antonio Bronic/File Photo

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YANQING, China, Jan 31 (Reuters) – Former Olympic gold medallists Lindsey Vonn and Picabo Street believe their compatriot Mikaela Shiffrin can medal in every event she competes in at the Beijing Games.

Shiffrin, who won gold in slalom in Sochi in 2014 and in giant slalom in Pyeongchang four years ago, has said she is hoping to compete in all five individual events, although it remains to be seen whether she will.

Finding the energy and time to start every event can be tricky, especially if weather impacts the programme. Four years ago Shiffrin pulled out of the super-G and downhill due to the pressures of the schedule.

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Vonn, who competed in four Olympics and is the most successful American woman on the World Cup tour with 82 victories, believes Shiffrin is capable of finishing on the podium in every race she enters.

“I’m really expecting her to get a medal in every event that she competes in, because she absolutely has the capability of doing that and that’s a compliment,” Vonn told Reuters in an interview.

The 26-year-old Shiffrin, who has racked up 73 World Cup victories, has grown as a presence in the speed events and had two podiums in super-G this season.

The biggest medal haul at a single Olympics by an Alpine skier was Croatian Janica Kostelic’s four, including three golds, at Salt Lake in 2002.

In men’s skiing, in the days before the introduction of super-G and combined, France’s Jean-Claude Killy in 1968 and Austria’s Toni Sailer in 1956 won the “Triple Crown” of slalom, giant slalom and downhill.

Shiffrin’s form been impacted by testing positive for COVID-19 and she had to cope with the death of her father in 2020 due to an accident.

She heads the overall World Cup standings from her Slovak rival Petra Vlhova, however, and it would be a major surprise if she does not add to her three Olympic medals.

“I really think she’s skiing exceptionally well,” said Vonn, “She’s maybe not had quite the consistency this year, but that’s obviously expected considering the tragedy that she’s faced, and I think this is going to be an amazing Games for her,” she added.

UNKNOWN PISTE

Street, gold medallist at Nagano in 1998 and silver medallist four years earlier in Lillehammer, says Shriffin won’t be fazed by whatever challenges emerge on the unknown piste in Yanqing.

“I believe she’s going into the games thinking, I got this whatever is coming my way,” Street told Reuters.

“And there is no better challenge for her to go: ‘Okay, have I stepped up and, and pulled this off?’ What’s gonna be the proof for someone like her is (all) five, right? That’s the level of success she’ll need.”

Street said her own breakthrough success as an American in a traditionally European dominated sport had been continued by Vonn and that Shiffrin can do the same.

“That’s the beautiful thing about the Olympics, exactly how far can they go? And I think we’re gonna see some athletes really, really blow through the ceiling in these Games,” she said.

Shiffrin begins her medal quest on Feb. 7 in the giant slalom. The Alpine events at the Games begin on Feb. 6 with the men’s downhill.

Vonn and Street spoke as part of the launch of “Picabo”, a film in a series of Olympic Channel documentaries highlighting epic winter sports stories ahead of Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. The film can be viewed at (LINK HERE: https://olympics.com/en/video/picabo-five-rings-films

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Reporting by Simon Evans, Editing by Ed Osmond

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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