Mikeala Shiffrin braced for Beijing 2022 ‘pressure’ as she targets third Olympic Games gold

Mikeala Shiffrin has explained how the “pressure and expectation” on her shoulders has changed as she aims for a third gold medal at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

The 26-year-old won gold in the slalom in Sochi in 2014 and followed up by winning the giant slalom in Pyeongchang in 2018.

Shiffrin, who was beaten by rival Petra Vlhova in the World Cup slalom in Finland at the weekend, has said that she is “planning to race everything” in Beijing.

She also told Eurosport’s Winter Pass show, which will be broadcast every Tuesday at 6.30pm GMT, how her Olympic experiences have changed over the last seven years.

“It’s changed over the years. When I first started, my first Olympics, I don’t know, like of course I wanted a gold medal. I thought that was possible. I didn’t really see how big it could be if that happened until after.

“Then going into the second Olympics, in South Korea, I had a much better understanding of how it works as an athlete when you win gold, how that can change your career and how much more attention you get but also more expectations and pressure from a lot of people who don’t necessarily pay attention to your sport outside of the Olympics. And that makes it a little bit more uncomfortable.

‘A huge mistake’ – Shiffrin recovers from error to finish second in Levi

“It is a lot more pressure to be there. So, I felt that in the second Olympics, and I think that this time around it’s going to be a mix.”

The Beijing 2022 Olympic Games open on February 4, with the alpine skiing competition scheduled to take place from February 6-19.

Shiffrin competed at three events at the last Olympics – slalom, giant slalom and combined – but hopes for even more time on the snow in Beijing.

“The plan is to compete in every event I qualify for,” she said ahead of last weekend’s World Cup event in Levi.

“I’m planning to race everything, but we’ll know a lot more closer to the Games. When I went to South Korea (for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics), I competed in the giant slalom race while still expecting to compete in everything.

“But after the slalom competition, I realised just how exhausting the previous six days had been. At that point I had to make a decision; [we decided] it wouldn’t have been safe to race the Super-G or slalom at that point. So we needed to regroup and that’s when we changed the program, and it could be a very similar thing in China.

“If there are schedule changes I’m hoping to be able to roll with the punches without exerting as much energy. I went through the experience before, but that was four years ago. It’s easy to say but it’s a lot harder to do when you’re there and you’re stressed and you feel the pressure and you want to do everything, and the more things that don’t go to plan the more stressed and tired you become.

“So I’m doing everything I can to relax and try to be optimistic. But when the time comes we will have to be realistic.”

New episodes of Eurosport’s new Winter Pass show will air every Tuesday evening on the Road to Beijing

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *