Mikaela Shiffrin shifts from record chase to medal races at world championships

Mikaela Shiffrin's record hunt goes on hold for now as the American shifts to another challenge: competing in the world championships, her first major event since the Beijing Olympics.

American set to compete in 1st major event since missing podium at Beijing Olympics

A skier maneuvers to avoid a pole.
American Mikaela Shiffrin, seen above in January, is putting her World Cup record chase on pause with the world championships set to begin on Monday. (Piermarco Tacca/The Associated Press)

Perspective. The big picture. Dealing with both success and failure.

Mikaela Shiffrin did a lot of soul searching after she didn't win a medal and didn't finish three of her five individual races at last year's Beijing Olympics after entering the games amid enormous expectations.

Her takeaways?

"Accept a little bit more that sometimes things are not going to go the way that I really hope," the American skier said. "Even if I work hard and I try really hard and I think I'm doing all the right things, sometimes it's not going to work, and that's just how it is. That's how it goes in life. Sometimes you fail and then sometimes you succeed. And I feel much more comfortable with both extremes and maybe a little bit less stressed about it in general."

That less-stress approach is working out just fine for Shiffrin, who has been having a record-breaking World Cup season.

But that version of record-hunting — the one where Shiffrin has eclipsed Lindsey Vonn for the most World Cup wins on the all-time women's list and needs only one more to match Ingemar Stenmark's overall mark of 86 victories — goes on hold now as Shiffrin shifts to another challenge: competing in her first major event since Beijing.

WATCH | Shiffrin wins 85th World Cup race, 1 away from Stenmark:

Mikaela Shiffrin closes in on all-time record with 85th World Cup win

4 months ago
Duration 3:13
The legendary American skier is just one victory shy of the overall wins record held by Ingemar Stenmark.

The Alpine skiing world championships open Monday in Courchevel and Meribel, France, with Shiffrin again expected to be a medal contender in all four of the events she'll likely compete in.

While it might not attract the same amount of attention — especially in the United States — the worlds follow nearly the same exact format of the Olympic skiing program.

Seems like the perfect opportunity for Shiffrin to be motivated for redemption, right?

"Actually no, not really," Shiffrin said. "If I learned anything last year, it's that these big events, they can go amazing and they can go terrible, and you're going to survive no matter what. So I kind of don't care."

In addition, the 27-year-old Shiffrin said on another recent day: "I feel more comfortable with the pressure and more comfortable with the stress of racing. So then I can actually enjoy that process."

While wins at world championships don't count toward Shiffrin's World Cup total, they could add to her almost equally impressive career record at worlds.

In 13 races at the next biggest event in skiing after the Olympics, Shiffrin has claimed six golds and 11 medals overall. The last time she didn't medal in a race at worlds came eight years ago, when she was still a teenager.

Shiffrin's program

Shiffrin will likely enter four events at worlds — combined, super-G, giant slalom and slalom.

She said recently that she's "pretty sure" she won't race the downhill. And she probably won't enter the parallel event, either, because it's rough on her back.

The combined, which she dominated at the last worlds in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, two years ago, opens the championships on Monday. It's an event that combines the times from one super-G run and one slalom run.

The worlds will be held at two different locations, separated by a 15-minute drive but connected by gondolas and ski slopes.

The women will compete in Meribel on the Roc de Fer course that was designed for the 1992 Albertville Olympics, while the men will race in Courchevel on the new l'Eclipse course that made its debut during last season's World Cup finals.

While Shiffrin excels in the technical disciplines of slalom and giant slalom, her Norwegian boyfriend, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, is a specialist at downhill and super-G.

A former overall World Cup champion and a winner of silver (in combined) and bronze (in super-G) in Beijing, Kilde is still chasing his first medal at a world championships, having missed the 2021 event because of injury.

Olympic giant slalom champion Marco Odermatt is Kilde's main rival.

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