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Dublin: 15 °C Sunday 5 July, 2020

The biggest favourite at the 2018 Winter Olympics failed to defend her title

In the end, Mikaela Shiffrin didn’t even win a medal.

Mikaela Shiffrin's quest for four gold medals fell in her favourite event.
Mikaela Shiffrin's quest for four gold medals fell in her favourite event.
Image: Morry Gash/PA Images

IF YOU WANTED to bet on Mikaela Shiffrin to win the gold medal in the women’s slalom at the 2018 Winter Olympics, you’d have to put down a lot to win relatively little.

The American was rightly a prohibitive 1/4 favourite. The best slalom skier in the world for the past five years, Shiffrin has won seven of the nine World Cup events this seaon and 26 of the 34 events held since the last Winter Games.

However, in the early hours of Friday morning the American not only failed to take the gold but, in the biggest shock of this year’s Games, she failed to make the podium.

“It’s a really big bummer because I know how I have been skiing slalom all season long,” Shiffrin, told AFP as she played down concerns a vomiting incident before her first run was a result of the norovirus that has hit Pyeongchang, instead putting it down to a bout of nerves.

“I am really happy for the girls who did medal. I was fighting for the medal yesterday and I came out on the right side and I was fighting today, although not really in the way that I wanted to, and I came on the wrong side,” the 22-year-old said.

“Somebody has to be in fourth place, it’s okay.”

Of the three skiers who beat her –gold medallist Frida Hansdotter of Sweden and silver medallist Wendy Holdener of Switzerland — both rank in the top five of the World Cup slalom standing.

Katharina Gallhuber of Austria, who took the bronze, was the big surprise of the race.

Shiffrin will still skip the super-G on Saturday — a decision that was made before the slalom — and will only race the downhill on Wednesday if she is among the four fastest US skiers in Monday and Tuesday’s training runs.

She will also race the Alpine combined next Friday.

Additional reporting from AFP.

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Steve O'Rourke

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