Mikaela Shiffrin disqualified for third time; Michelle Gisin wins Alpine combined gold

1/6

Mikaela Shiffrin disqualified for third time; Michelle Gisin wins Alpine combined gold American skier Mikaela Shiffrin (R) speaks to Swiss skier Priska Nufer after they both skied out in the slalom portion of the Alpine Combined at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, on Thursday. Photo by Rick T. Wilking/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 16 (UPI) — American skier Mikaela Shiffrin crashed out of the slalom portion of the Alpine combined on Thursday in Beijing, her third disqualification during the Winter Games, as Michelle Gisin Switzerland won gold.

Shiffrin, who was looking to bounce back from a disappointing start to the Winter Olympics, fell early in the Rock slalom course at the National Alpine Skiing Center in Yanqing after having put herself in medal contention with a strong run in the downhill portion of the event.

The three-time Olympian appeared to lose her balance as she attempted to slalom around poles early on the course.

Her fall came after she skied the Rock downhill course in a respectable 1 minute 32.98 seconds, putting her in fifth place ahead of the slalom.

Following the race she told NBC she doesn’t know what happened.

“Everything there was just exactly aligned with what I wanted to feel, what my best slalom can produce, and I don’t know if it was some combination of driver error, maybe a small little track in the snow … and I just didn’t react quick enough or whatever it was,” she said. “I feel like a joke but maybe it made someone smile.”

U.S. skier Mikaela Shiffrin looks up the hill after she skied out in the slalom portion of the Alpine Combined at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, on Thursday. Photo by Rick T. Wilking/UPI

Twenty-five skiers competed Thursday in the Alpine combined, which includes downhill and slalom runs.

Sitting in first first after the downhill was Austria’s Christine Scheyer who skied the run 0.53 seconds faster than the American.

In the end, Gisin would take the top spot on the podium with a combined time of 2 minutes 25.67 seconds.

Her victory was fueled in large part by her blisteringly fast slalom run of 52.25 seconds.

Fellow Swiss skier Wendy Holdener won silver with a time of 2 minutes 26.72 seconds and Italy’s Federica Brignone won bronze with a combined time of 2 minutes 27.52 seconds.

Of the four Americans in the race, Tricia Mangan was the only to one to complete the slalom, finishing with a time of 2 minutes 34.34 seconds.

Prior to the competition, Shiffrin posted a 1 minute 33.56 second downhill time, the fastest down the course during the first training session on Wednesday.

Shiffrin said she was using the skis of Italian Olympian Sofia Goggia, who captured the silver medal in women’s downhill earlier in Beijing.

“She didn’t need them because she wasn’t competing here so I was able to try them yesterday and I was able to ski on them today,” she told NBC.

Attached to the skis was a sticky note from Goggia, stating, “Fly Mika, you can.”

“I almost started crying,” Shiffrin said.

The combined is Shiffrin’s fifth Alpine event of the Beijing Olympics, which has not gone as she had hoped.

The Colorado native, who has two gold medals and a bronze from the previous two Olympics, was a favorite to continue dominating the slopes in China. However, she got off to a rocky start, disqualifying in her first two events then finishing ninth in the women’s super-G and 18th in the women’s downhill.

Following her disqualification on Thursday, she told NBC that despite the disappointing finishes there were lots of positives, including having done some of her best skiing ever in Beijing.

“On the race, in the moment, when it counts then I didn’t make it to the finish. That’s never happened in my entire career. So I don’t understand it, but there’s so much positive happen in the last couple weeks despite how much it really stinks,” she said. “Sometimes you just have to take it.”

Shiffrin is also expected to compete in the mixed team parallel slalom on Friday for a total of six events, tying her with Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova for the most by an Alpine skier in a single Winter Games.

Mikaela Shiffrin of the USA skis her final Olympic event on the last day of the games in the mixed team parallel event at the Winter Olympics in Beijing on February 20, 2022. The USA placed fourth in the event. Photo by Rick T. Wilking/UPI | License Photo

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)