Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States reacts after the alpine skiing women's slalom. Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
Winter Olympics

USA's Shiffrin left 'low' after shock early Beijing Olympics exit as Chloe Kim stars and falls

Mikaela Shiffrin, one of the biggest names at the Games, will have to wait at least a bit longer for a career third Olympic gold in alpine skiing.

MIKAELA SHIFFRIN’S BEIJING Olympics threatened to turn into a winter nightmare after she botched the slalom as fellow American star Chloe Kim starred and then sprawled in snowboard Wednesday.

Six gold medals were up for grabs on the fifth day of full competition, with Birk Ruud taking home one of them after a dominant victory in the freestyle skiing Big Air — even holding a Norwegian flag for his third jump.

But Shiffrin, one of the biggest names at the Games, will have to wait at least a bit longer for a career third Olympic gold in alpine skiing.

The 26-year-old made a shock early exit from the giant slalom on Monday and with the pressure on, suffered the same fate in the slalom, with rival Petra Vlhova of Slovakia taking full advantage.

Vlhova produced a stunning second leg to clock a combined total of 1min 44.98sec over the two runs and edge Austria’s reigning world champion Katharina Liensberger into silver by eight-hundredths of a second.

In stark contrast, Shiffrin slid wide after just a handful of gates before skiing out in the first leg, then plonked herself down on the snow, head in hands.

The American said she felt “pretty awful”, although added: “But it won’t feel awful for ever. I just feel pretty low right now.”

Shiffrin will compete in three more individual events in Beijing, with the super-G on Friday, followed by the downhill on Tuesday and alpine combined on February 17.

The 21-year-old Kim, who made worldwide headlines when she won snowboard gold as a teenager at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games, is one of the others to watch at this Olympics.

Kim, making her first appearance in Beijing, topped qualifying for Thursday’s halfpipe final with her scintillating first-run score of 87.75.

But she fell midway through her second at Genting Snow Park, sprawling on her stomach as she attempted to land from a trick.

“Well, I fell so it wasn’t great, but I’m really stoked on my first run that honestly for the second I just wanted to try a different line, I’ve never practised it before so I’m not surprised that I fell,” she said.

“But just having so much fun out here… I can’t ask for anything more, just enjoying the ride.

“Tomorrow’s final will be a lot of fun.”

Also in action in snowboard, at the opposite end of his career, was the 35-year-old Shaun White.

The three-time Olympic champion and trailblazer — who is twice the age of some of his rivals — said last week he will retire from competition after Beijing and is determined to go out with a bang.

But he looked more likely to go out in a whimper when he fell in his first run in the halfpipe, before pulling out a far better second effort to reach the final in an ultimately comfortable fourth place.

White looked visibly relieved afterwards.

Separately, the International Olympic Committee said the medals ceremony for the team figure skating has been delayed by a legal issue.

The Russian team won the gold medal with the United States taking silver and Japan bronze, but the ceremony was removed from its scheduled slot on Tuesday.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams cited a “legal consultation” with the sport’s governing body, the International Skating Union, without giving further details.

Golds are also there to be won at the Games on Wednesday in women snowboard cross, luge, nordic combined and short track speed skating.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel