Mikaela Shiffrin did not get a chance to defend her gold medal in the giant slalom, but she still has four more chances to make history at the 2022 Winter Games.
In the first leg of the giant slalom Monday morning (Sunday evening in Boston), Shiffrin lost her ski’s edge while coming around an early gate, causing her to fall. She was disqualified, a rare result for the 26-year-old alpine skier.
“Could blame it on a lot of things,” Shiffrin wrote on Instagram following the race. “And we’ll analyze it until the cows come home, but not today. Today, I chalk it up to really awful timing of a really frustrating mistake.”
Shiffrin’s slip happened seconds into her run at the Yanqing Alpine Skiing Center. She was one of 19 athletes who did not finish the course.
Monday’s performance marked the first time since January 2018 that Shiffrin was unable to finish a run in giant slalom, snapping a 30-race streak. Over the course of her 11-season career, Shiffrin has skied out only 14 times in 229 World Cup, Olympic, and World Championship races.
The giant slalom was Shiffrin’s first event in Beijing. She is also scheduled to compete in the slalom Wednesday, the Super-G Friday, the downhill Feb. 15, and the combined Feb. 17.
“I’m going to reset,” Shiffrin said via the NBC broadcast. “There’s still a long two weeks to go. I’m still looking forward to it. I’m sorry that that was the performance that I did today, but that also happens.”
If Shiffrin reaches the podium in any of her remaining events, she will tie now-retired Julia Mancuso for the most Olympic medals by a female American alpine skier. If she earns a gold, she will hold the record for most by any American alpine skier.
Bode Miller holds the record for most medals by any American alpine skier, with six.
Shiffrin is already one of the most-decorated skiers of all time. She has three Olympic medals — a gold in the slalom in 2014, a gold in the giant slalom in 2018, and a silver in the combined in 2018 — along with three World Cup overall titles and 11 medals in World Championship races.
After Monday’s miscue, Shiffrin already began training for her next event, the slalom. She acknowledged the challenges of moving on, but stressed the importance of doing so.
“I’m not going to cry about this, because that’s just wasted energy,” she said. “My best chance for the next races is to move forward and re-focus. I feel like I’m in a good place to do that. I don’t know about the medals. I know my skiing is good. My goal is to keep the right mentality to keep pushing.”
While the wait continues for Shiffrin, multiple athletes made history Monday.
In the figure skating team event, 15-year-old Kamila Valieva became the first woman to land a quadruple jump at the Olympics. Vaileva, representing the Russian Olympic Committee, landed two quads in her free skate program.
Valieva finished with a score of 178.92, helping the ROC win a gold medal.
The US finished second, while Japan placed third. At 32 years old, four-time Olympian and American team captain Evan Bates became the oldest US Olympic medalist in any skating discipline.
In the men’s downhill, Frenchman Johan Clarey became the oldest Olympic medalist in alpine skiing. At 41 years old, Clarey earned silver — his first medal in four Olympics — and finished 0.10 seconds shy of the gold.
“[Whether] you are 20 or 41, it doesn’t matter,” Clarey said. “It’s just an Olympic medal. It’s already a good memory.”
Delayed and masked hockey
Canada and the Russian Olympic Committee had to wait out an hour-long delay before puck drop in their preliminary round women’s hockey game.
The Canadian team participated in a warmup on the ice before returning to their locker room, where they stayed until introductions. Coach Troy Ryan then came out onto the ice to speak to the officials.
When play began, both teams and officials sported masks. By the third period, the ROC and officials had removed their masks, but Canadian players continued to wear theirs for the duration of the contest.
According to the IOC, masks were worn because of “safety and security concerns.”
In December 2018, Canadian snowboarder Max Parrot was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Just over three years later, he’s now an Olympic gold medalist in the men’s snowboard slopestyle.
Parrot, who is cancer-free after 12 treatments of chemotherapy over six months, won silver in Pyeongchang in 2018.
Parrot’s teammate, Mark McMorris, won bronze Monday. In March 2017, McMorris sustained near-fatal injuries in a snowboarding accident at Whistler Mountain. He hit a tree, suffering a fractured jaw, fractured left arm, ruptured spleen, pelvic fracture, multiple rib fractures, and collapsed left lung.