Le Pays De France - Shiffrin admits no Beijing medal would be 'disappointing'

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Shiffrin admits no Beijing medal would be 'disappointing'
Shiffrin admits no Beijing medal would be 'disappointing'

Shiffrin admits no Beijing medal would be 'disappointing'

US ski star Mikaela Shiffrin has admitted she would be disappointed to leave the Beijing Olympics without a medal, but has warned it is impossible to have two "perfect weeks" at a Games.

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Shiffrin is one of the headline acts at Beijing 2022, hunting a third gold after triumphing in slalom at the 2014 Sochi Games and giant slalom four years later in Pyeongchang.

Aged just 26, the four-time world slalom champion and three-time World Cup overall winner has progressed from a pure technical skier to a true all-rounder.

She is the sole skier, male or female, to have won in all six International Ski Federation (FIS) disciplines, having stepped up from slalom and giant slalom to also claim World Cup wins in both the super-G -- four times -- and downhill (two) as well as parallel slalom and alpine combined.

Needless to say, expectations are sky high, with Shiffrin set to enter at least three events at the Olympics.

"There is going to be some level of disappointment if I walk away with no medal," she said.

"I don’t think it's possible to walk away without any level of disappointment. I don't think you can truly say: 'I'm not disappointed about how something went'.

"I've never in my life had three weeks where I had no regrets and no disappointment so it definitely can't be expected at the Olympics… It's just a fact of life!"

She conceded that medal expectations were understandable, but the Olympics involved "a lot of moving pieces".

"There are a lot of factors that are not really under your control. Most of it is actually out of your control, not even the way you experience a normal World Cup race," she said.

"At the Olympics, it’s impossible to have the perfect two weeks."

- Public scrutiny 'challenging' -

Shiffrin acknowledged that public scrutiny was part and parcel of competitive but said it could be "very challenging".

"That wasn't necessarily something that I've signed up for. You don't necessarily expect the level of that and how awful it is to feel like you have disappointed a nation of people that you don't know, you've never met and you’ll probably never will."

Turning to what promises to be a packed schedule, Shiffrin said it was a "little bit wait-and-see".

"The biggest event in question would be the downhill," for which training runs will be "a mini-qualifier (for the US team) because we have more than four women here who can race the downhill and be fast".

“That’s very exciting and I do not feel like I need to take that spot if we have fully capable athletes filling those spots who are faster than I am.

"So we’re going to see in the training runs where we stack up and what my potential truly is on that track and go from there.

"It's very nearly a game-time decision."

Shiffrin said she was happy the men had gone first on the speed venue at the man-made pistes of the Chinese National Alpine Skiing Centre in Yanqing -- the men's downhill takes place on Sunday.

"It’s a really nice slope for speed, some really nice, cool rolling terrain, everything is really smooth," she said.

"Trying to get used to a new venue, maybe more for speed than anything else, can be a little bit tricky, because you’ve never run it before, but luckily for the women the men are going first!"