Shiffrin views Beijing Olympics with concern

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Lausanne (AFP)

American ski star Mikaela Shiffrin said on Friday she was anticipating the Beijing Olympics in February with some anxiety as she looked forward to a season that begins next weekend.

“You hope you go to the Olympics, it’s a big event. It’s the highlight of my career, all of that stuff and it’s going to be awesome,” she said.

“And most of the time it’s very uncomfortable all the time.”

Last season, Shiffrin focused on technical events, slalom and giant slalom as she rebuilt after a nightmarish 2019-20 season.

This season, which begins with a giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, on October 23, she has said she wants to try to win in the speed events as well.

“Ideally, I’ll have a similar schedule to what I had in previous years last season, but we’ll have to see how that goes,” said the 26-year-old American who won the World Cup in the standings. general. title for three consecutive years until 2019.

That streak ended with a gruesome season marked by the sudden death of her father in February 2020, the pandemic and a back injury as she was winless for the first time since her first campaign, 2011-12, when she was 16 years old.

Last season she had three wins, one in giant and two in slalom, to bring her World Cup total to 69, including one in downhill and four in Super G.

She is aiming for the record of 86 victories, all in slalom or giant slalom, set by the Swede Ingemar Stenmark between 1974 and 1989.

Her successful world championships last February at Cortina d’Ampezzo, where she finished on the podium in her four races and won the combined, could serve as a model for the Beijing Olympics next February where she could win a third medal. consecutive gold in slalom.

But, she said, her form, fitness and the demands of the Olympics could force her to revise the plan.

“I will definitely consider how the toll will take physically, and also mentally to try to start this season, by participating in technical events and at speed, and also how it will prepare for the Olympics”, she said. declared.

“As we get closer, we will kind of have to reevaluate where I am and how I feel.”

She said the Asian location of the Olympic and Chinese restrictions on Covid as well as the uncertainty caused by unpredictable weather conditions presented challenges.

“As soon as we touch the ground there, we will have a jet lag,” she said, adding that she had studied the Games schedule.

“We are going to participate in a race then a day of training, then a day of racing then a day of training, then a day of racing, then two days of training, then a day of racing, then two days of training. training and then another race day, ”she said.

“There isn’t a lot of recovery or rest that you can plan for.”

“We also know that the weather can literally change everything.”

“You can make every move to be rested and ready to get strong, and that can always be totally wasted for reasons essentially beyond your control,” she said.

“Feeling the pressure is extremely uncomfortable,” she said, adding that she had watched the Summer Games last year and believed the Covid restrictions had made the situation worse.

“Watch the Tokyo Olympics and so many athletes leaving,” she said.

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