Mikaela Shiffrin's Olympic Nightmare Now Includes 'Hate'

Skier highlights abusive comments after failing to medal in individual events
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2022 12:42 PM CST
Mikaela Shiffrin's Olympic Nightmare Now Includes 'Hate'
Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States crashes out during the women's combined slalom at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Thursday, in the Yanqing district of Beijing.   (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

(Newser) – For the first time in her career, Mikaela Shiffrin will leave an Olympic Games without an individual medal around her neck. The US alpine skier missed her last chance for an individual medal in Beijing when she crashed Thursday during the slalom leg of the women's combined event, of which she is the reigning world champion, per USA Today. That followed disqualifications in slalom and giant slalom when the 26-year-old skied off course in those events earlier. Shiffrin still has a shot at a group medal in mixed team parallel slalom on Saturday. But it will be with the weight of heavy and often sexist criticism. More:

  • Top-ranked Shiffrin took to social media to highlight comments she’d received, per the Boston Globe. "Dumb blonde," "dumb b----," "choker," "narcissist," and "disgrace" were just some of those shared by the Olympian, who won gold in slalom at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and gold in the giant slalom and silver in the combined event in Pyeongchang in 2018.
  • The Colorado native went on to refer to "the people who have so much apparent hate." In an all-caps tweet, she wrote, "Let the turkeys get you down. There will always be turkeys. Or get up, again." "It's not always easy, but it’s also not the end of the world to fail," she added. "Fail twice. Fail 5 times. At the Olympics. (Enter me ...)."

  • Shiffrin did finish the super-G and downhill events in Beijing but with ninth and 18th place finishes respectively. "Pressure is a tough thing and expectation's a tough thing, and that comes with the territory of being one of the greatest in the sport, ever," US ski team head women's coach Paul Kristofic said, per the AP. "She feels that and it weighs on her."
  • Shiffrin had actually predicted the abuse. "There's going to be a whole chaotic mess ... that people are saying about how I just fantastically failed these last couple weeks in the moments that actually counted," she told the AP. While "I've had a lot of support … I’ve also had a bit of a crap storm of: 'What went wrong, caved under the pressure, choked,'" she added, per the Guardian, suggesting she was the Olympics' "biggest joke."

  • She did note some of the criticism was warranted. "I don't know if there's anybody who ever had so many opportunities to get a medal in the Olympic Games and failed so many times," Shiffrin told the Guardian, noting "60% of my [did not finish] rate for my entire career has happened at this Olympic Games." Still, she's not the only Olympian to suffer abuse following poor performances.
(Read more 2022 Beijing Olympics stories.)

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