Mikaela Shiffrin, the two-time Olympic champion skier and a top U.S. medal contender at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, mentioned Monday that she has tested constructive for the coronavirus and can miss World Cup races Tuesday and Wednesday in Lienz, Austria.
The consequence difficult Shiffrin’s preparations for the Beijing Games and confirmed how a surge of circumstances amongst rivals may upset China’s and the International Olympic Committee’s efforts to run virus-free Games inside an Olympic bubble. The Olympics are the biggest stage for a lot of athletes, and a constructive check can imply the lack of a uncommon alternative, simply as an outbreak in China could affect the entire Games.
“I wanted to let you all know that I’m doing well, but unfortunately I had a positive COVID test,” Shiffrin, 26, wrote on Instagram. “I am following protocol and isolating.”
Shiffrin’s announcement got here a number of days after she gained a large slalom race in Courchevel, France, her 72nd profession World Cup victory. Only Lindsey Vonn of the United States, with 82 victories, and Ingemar Stenmark of Sweden, who gained 86 races in the ’70s and ’80s, have extra profession World Cup wins. This 12 months, Shiffrin leads the overall women’s World Cup standings and is first in the large slalom and second in the slalom.
After her win in Courchevel on Dec. 21, Shiffrin spoke of feeling drained.
“It was really quite difficult, to be honest — tiring today! Even after the first run, I wasn’t sure I could do the second run,” she mentioned. “It’s a big push and for every athlete racing. We had to dig very deep and just fight and be aggressive.”
Shiffrin dominated World Cup snowboarding in her early 20s, however the cadence of her wins has slowed in recent times. She missed months of competitors in 2020 after her father, Jeff, 65, died in an accident in Colorado that February. She misplaced coaching time later that 12 months due to the pandemic.
In an interview earlier than the begin of the subsequent season, Shiffrin mentioned her father’s loss of life had made her rethink the significance of snowboarding. (The household declined to debate the circumstances of Jeff Shiffrin’s loss of life; a coroner listed the trigger as an unintended head harm.)
“It changes your perspective,” Mikaela Shiffrin mentioned. “I hope my perspective stays changed.”
After successful simply three World Cup races final season, Shiffrin opened this ski season with a large slalom victory in Soelden, Austria. She adopted with two second-place finishes in slaloms in Levi, Finland, and a slalom win in Killington, Vt. That victory was her 46th in that self-discipline, tying Stenmark’s file for wins in a single occasion (he gained 46 large slalom races).
She has additionally had encouraging leads to snowboarding’s pace occasions, with two third-place finishes in Super G races in St. Moritz, Switzerland, and a fifth-place end in downhill in Val d’Isére, France. Her versatility makes her a contender to medal in all 4 particular person disciplines and the mixed downhill and slalom in Beijing.
In Lienz, Shiffrin was to have competed in a large slalom on Tuesday and a slalom on Wednesday. On Instagram on Monday, Shiffrin wished her teammates luck in the races. “I’ll be cheering for you from afar,” she mentioned.