Mikaela Shiffrin is quickly becoming the face of U.S. Skiing. Shiffrin will be just 22 years old when she hits the slopes in Pyeongchang and she already has one Olympics under her belt. According to her U.S. Olympic bio, Shiffrin burst onto the scene in 2013, with a historic victory at the World Championships. She followed that up one year later in Sochi, winning gold in the women’s slalom. In the four years since the last winter Olympics, Shiffrin has successfully defended her slalom world titles twice, in 2015 and 2017.
However in the weeks leading up to the Olympics in Pyeongchang, Shiffrin has struggled on the slopes. SFGate.com reported she hasn’t finished in her last two races, marking the first time in her career she has failed to finish in back-to-back events. Despite the setback, Shiffrin has still won seven of her last eight slalom races this season. She is expected to compete for the podium in all five of her events this Olympics. In Pyeongchang, Shiffrin is scheduled to compete in the slalom, giant slalom, super-G, downhill and alpine combined events, according to her fan page.
Here’s everything you need to know:
1. Shiffrin is the Youngest Gold Medalist in Olympic Slalom History
At the age of 18, three weeks before her 19th birthday, Shiffrin won women’s slalom gold in Sochi. In the process, she became the youngest athlete, male or female, to win slalom gold in Olympic history. It was Shiffrin’s only Olympic event in 2014 and she made it count. Her final time of 1:44.54 was just .13 faster than the silver medalist, Marlies Child of Austria.
In October, eight months after the Olympics, Shiffrin meteoric rise to stardom continued as she recorded her first World Cup win in giant slalom. Later that season, she won the World Championship in slalom held in Beaver Creek, Colorado, which is close to Shiffrin’s hometown of Eagle-Vail. The Mikaela Shiffrin fan club posted a lengthy video titled Chase Your Dreams which highlighted those victories in addition to Shiffrin’s Olympic debut.
In 2017, a well-established Shiffrin reached her pinnacle on the slopes. She won the overall, slalom and giant slalom World Cup titles. She also won her first World Cup title in alpine combined. Her World Cup skiing career began in 2011 at the age of 15. One year later at 16-years-old she was turning heads by finishing on the podium in the World Cup and won the 2012 World Cup Rookie of the Year award. In 2013, Shiffrin became the first American woman to win a slalom World Cup championship since Tamara McKinney in 1983-84.
2. Shiffrin Has The Second Most World Cup Victories in U.S. Women’s Skiing History
Entering the Olympics, Shiffrin has recorded 41 World Cup wins in her career, second only to Lindsey Vonn. Her most recent World Cup win tied legendary Austrian skier Annemarie Moser-Pröll for the most titles prior to turning 23-years-old. Shiffrin won’t turn 23 until March, after the Olympics. At just 22-years-old, Shiffrin is 11 years younger than Vonn.
Shiffrin currently leads the FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup overall standings with 1513 points, almost 700 points ahead of the next closest skiier, Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener, who has compiled 842 points this season. Shiffrin is also the first woman in history to win the first five World Cup races of the calendar year, sweeping the board so far in 2018.
Shiffrin is also a four-time U.S. Champion, winning in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015. She is the reigning Beck International Award winner, which recognizes the top American skier each year. Shiffrin is a three-time winner of the Longines Rising Star Award from 2013-15. During her rookie season in 2011, she won a bronze in slalom at the Junior World Championships and was the NorAm slalom champion. Shiffrin is a seven-time Ski Racing Magazine Junior of the Year from 2011-16.
3.Shiffrin is a Social Media Darling
She has over 440,000 Instagram followers, one of the highest followings among this year’s crop of winter Olympians. Lindsey Vonn still leads the way with 1.2 million and considering Vonn and Shiffrin will both be competing in the 2018 Olympics, perhaps a ceremonial passing of the torch to the next generation will happen in Pyeongchang. Shriffin’s Instagram account is a healthy mix of personal and corporate promotion. One of her recent posts was a Visa Olympics commercial.
NBC Sports recently released a documentary called Mikaela Shiffrin: Peak Season which debuted on Jan. 29. Shiffrin helped promote the documentary on her twitter account.
In addition to Instagram, Shiffrin is also active on twitter and uses the platform to promote her various sponsors, including this recent ad from the popular sunglasses company Oakley, who provides Shiffrin with ski goggles.
4.Shiffrin Appeared in a Super Bowl Ad Promoting the Olympics
During Super Bowl LII, Shiffrin was the centerpiece of NBC’s Winter Olympics marketing campaign, appearing in a 60-second commercial promoting the games. The commercial starts with Shiffrin on the slopes racing past a few male skiers to the tune of Chuck Berry’s classic song Johnny B. Goode. The commercial then flashes back to Shiffrin’s childhood, where she meets three-time U.S. Olympian Heidi Voelker. Voelker gives Shiffrin an autograph which states “A.B.F.T.T.B.” an acronym that stands for “always be faster than the boys”.
Following a montage of a young Shiffrin beating the boys in various athletic and academic competitions, the commercial cuts to a current-day Shiffrin training for the Olympics, followed by a highlight reel of her success at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. The ad comes full circle at the conclusion, with Shiffrin signing “A.B.F.T.T.B.” on a young girl’s ski goggles.
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Shiffrin also has an extensive fan page, which has it’s own facebook, twitter and youtube platforms.
5.Shiffrin is From Vail, Colorado and Played Multiple Sports Growing Up
According to her U.S. Olympic bio, Shiffrin enjoys tennis and soccer but skiing is “definitely number one”. Both of her parents and her big brother, Taylor, are also alpine racers. Shiffrin’s father, Jeff, raced collegiately at Dartmouth and her mother, Eileen, was a Masters racer. Her brother Taylor is also her “number one fan”. When she’s not on the track, Shiffrin loves reading and watching romantic comedy movies.
Growing up in Colorado, she recalls skiing down the driveway when she was just three-years-old. However she quickly moved up the ladder and became a staple on the slopes at Vail.
“I did free ski a lot. I did do a lot of drills,” Shiffrin said. “It was probably 1/3 freeskiing, 1/3 drills, 1/3 gates, and I did a lot of mogul skiing. I loved skiing the bumps, just the rhythm, trying not to eat it on a bump was really fun for me.”
The balanced training regimen led to success at the junior level, which caught the attention of several U.S. coaches and just like that a skiing star was born. Here’s a glimpse of Shiffrin’s training during the summer of 2015.
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Shiffrin’s boyfriend, Mathieu Faivre is also an Olympic skier. You can read more about Faivre here.
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