Mikaela Shiffrin nabs giant slalom gold, pulls out of Super-G

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Shiffrin arrived in South Korea with her suitcase overstuffed with insane ambition, a plan to chase medals in five events, when no male or female skier has ever taken home more than three golds from the Winter Games.

Mikaela Shiffrin already had waited four years for this moment. Shiffrin is also just the sixth woman in Olympic history to win gold in both the slalom and giant slalom, joining the likes of Andrea Mead-Lawrence of the United States and Croatia's Janica Kostelić. "Now we got the ball rolling".

After winning gold to become only the third American Alpine skier to win two Olympic golds, joining Andrea Mead-Lawrence and Ted Ligety, Shiffrin admitted that the weather-hit delays had been "mentally taxing".

Mikaela Shiffrin had nearly a week of pent-up anticipation before barrelling down a white carpet above a mountain village boasting this country's coldest average temperatures that mercifully backed off Thursday in time for the women's giant slalom.

In many ways, this first event was cast as one that could give her some momentum and raise expectations for the remainder of her Olympic schedule, which continues Friday with the slalom. But on the second run, Shiffrin was clearly on a mission.

But ahead of her gold medal race, there were nerves of steel and celebration as she accepted the applause of scores of fans waving the Stars and Stripes. "It's too much stress for a 13-year-old, so I'm actually really happy that I wasn't able to go".

However, Mikaela's mother and coach, Eileen Shiffrin, said following Thursday's race that her daughter would no longer compete in Saturday's super-G due to the lack of preparation time.


Mikaela Shiffrin competes in the women's giant slalom at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on February 15, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea.

It was redemption for the 31-year-old veteran, known as the "Flying Tomato" because of his red hair, who won gold in 2006 and 2010 and helped put the hipster sport on the map, but flopped in Sochi, Russia, four years ago. "For me", she said, "that's one of my favorite times of race day, when I can lie down and go, whoo". So what did Shiffrin do to stay chill while waiting on a shot to determine her Olympic fate? "I think we are more emotional than her".

Team USA's Matt Antoine and John Daly did not finish in the top three after Day 1 runs.

"The conditions are great, the weather is attractive, and it's a pleasure to be skiing today", Shiffrin told reporters after her first run.

"I really feel it's just me out there", Shiffrin said.

Norway's Ragnhild Mowinckel won silver, 0.39 behind Shiffrin's combined time of 2:20.02. "We will show you the best of us at Beijing Games". After the final skier crossed the line and it was clear she had won, Shiffin fell to her knees and cried tears of happiness.

"It was my 15 seconds to let it all out", Shiffrin said, "and now I've got to focus on tomorrow". "To me, it was far more free".

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