Two-time Olympic gold medalist, three-time overall World Cup champion, four-time world champion in slalom, and a six-time winner of the World Cup Slalom Crystal Globe, Mikaela Shiffrin is on her way to collecting more titles and hardware in Beijing.
She is tied with Ted Ligety and Andrea Mead Lawrence for the most Olympic gold medals won by an American in alpine skiing and is one of only five Americans to ever win the World Cup overall title—which she’s now done three times.
In world championships, she’s won 11 overall medals, six of them gold, making her one of the most decorated alpine skiers in history. Now 26, she’s heading to Beijing for her third Olympic appearance as a veteran of the Games, and a dominating competitor hungry for more. Below, she shares her thoughts on these Olympic games, from the venues to her teammates. Watch Shiffrin’s first race, the Giant Slalom, on Feb. 7. See the schedule of ski events here.
Mikaela Shiffrin on the 2022 Beijing Olympics
On the Olympic Hype
“I’ve always placed more emphasis on consistency throughout the season than on individual wins or medals.”
On her Aggressive Game Plan
“I don’t know if it’s going to work, but it’s still the plan to compete in all or as many events as I qualify for in the Olympics. I’m planning to race everything. I’m doing everything I can to try to relax a little bit about the whole plan, and try to be optimistic. When the time comes, we’ll have to be realistic as well.”
On the Venue
“Nobody’s been there … there’s been some POV video and some pictures distributed around the World Cup. I find it to be helpful, but it’s not the same as being there. We can look at it, and try to imagine what it’s going to feel like in person, but that’s definitely a hard thing to do when you’ve never skied the track before. I feel like that’s going to be one of the more stressful pieces.”
On Being an Olympic Veteran
“There are still always doubts in my mind about how long I can realistically do this, with all the travel and constantly putting your body through the wringer. At this point, I feel like it’s still worth it and I have a lot of fast skiing I can do. I don’t know how long that’s going to last, but for now, I feel more certain that I still want to be doing this than I was last year at this time.”
On the Competition
“The margin for error is smaller. Some of the other women are skiing more consistently and more precisely, and not shying away from the speed or quickness of slalom as much as in previous years. I’ve definitely been pushing my limits to basically catch up as fast as possible.”
On Her Teammates
“Over the last couple of years, my teammates have been improving. We train together as much as possible. Between all of us, our skiing is fast. When you’re that close to tasting success, you’re willing to push that much harder. When you’re in the final interval, you dig a little deeper and find the energy to push a little harder. It’s a really cool vibe to be around right now.”