American Mikaela Shiffrin will start in Friday’s super-G race at the Beijing Olympics, a U.S. Ski team spokeswoman said on Thursday, after considering pulling out of the event following early exits from her specialist events.
Shiffrin failed to finish in either the slalom or giant slalom, her two favoured races, and earlier on Thursday the spokeswoman said Shiffrin was still deciding whether to enter the first women’s speed event.
The spokeswoman also said that neither Shiffrin, nor her mother and coach Eileen would be conducting any interviews with media “for the foreseeable future”.
Shiffrin, a three-time overall Alpine skiing World Cup champion and three-time Olympic medallist, cut a distraught figure after skiing out of the slalom on Wednesday just seconds into her run.
The 26-year-old crouched at the side of the course staring at the piste and the gate she missed which ended her challenge in the event in which she won gold in Sochi in 2014.
She fought back tears as she dealt with media interviews but was unclear when asked if she would be taking part in the upcoming speed races.
“Yeah. I mean, no,” she said, “I will try to reset again. Maybe try to reset better this time.
“But I also don’t know how to do it better because... I just don’t. I’ve never been in this position before and I don’t know how to handle it,” she said.
Shiffrin is the most high-profile skier on the U.S team and with intense focus on her failures, her boyfriend Norwegian downhiller Aleksander Aamodt Kilde called for public support and understanding.
“The pressure we all put on individuals in sports is enormous, so let’s give the same amount of support back. It’s all about the balance and we are just normal human beings,” he wrote on Facebook.
The U.S team had talked before the Games of Shiffrin taking part in all events in the Games and she remains one of the favourites for the combined event which includes a slalom and a downhill run.
Shiffrin is a slalom and giant slalom specialist but she has won five super-G races on the World Cup circuit and two downhills. Former team-mate and Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn told Reuters before the Games that she was capable of medalling in every event.
But Shiffrin’s mother Eileen said on Wednesday that she may not have done enough training on the downhill course, dubbed “The Rock”, and there were concerns about that creating danger for her.
Four years ago in Pyeongchang, Shiffrin had also planned to compete in all races but in the end, with changes to the programme caused by weather, she did not compete in the downhill and super-G.