Mikaela Shiffrin

Wind Postpones Shiffrin's Olympic Debut for Women's Slalom

Mikaela Shiffrin's debut at the wind-blown Pyeongchang Olympics has been postponed a second time.

Plans to run the slalom, with Shiffrin defending her title from 2014, have now been shelved, one hour after the original scheduled start at 10:15 a.m. South Korea time (8:15 p.m. EST). There had been three delays in hope of waiting out the strong gusts at the Rainbow course at Yongpyong. Now the race will be held Friday (Thursday night in the U.S.) instead.

Shiffrin already had her giant slalom race postponed Monday at blustery Yongpyong. That race was moved to a Thursday slot (Wednesday night in the U.S.), when winds are forecast to ease.

That creates a busy program for the next two days: Two women's technical races at Yongpyong and two men's speed races at Jeongseon, 30 miles (50 kilometers) away.

Medal favorites

All eyes will be on Shiffrin, who became the youngest Olympic slalom champion in 2014 at the age of 18. Since then, she has swept the slalom gold medals at Worlds. She is hoping to become the first woman to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals in the event. 

Shiffrin will be challenged by Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, who beat Shiffrin in consecutive World Cup slaloms in 2017. Shiffrin had the opportunity to train with Vlhova before this season, and learned that her slalom rival is friendly. Shiffrin said, “It’s like competing against Roger Federer. You want to hate him, but you can’t.”

Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter, a three-time slalom medalist at Worlds, has finished on the podium in her five most recent World Cup slaloms. 

Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener finished second to Shiffrin at the 2017 World Championships. 

U.S. athletes to watch

In addition to Shiffrin, Resi Stiegler, Megan McJames and Alice Merryweather will start for the U.S. 

Stiegler finished 12th in the slalom at the 2006 Torino Games, but has not completed an Olympic slalom since. 

McJames entered the slalom in both Vancouver and Sochi, but failed to finish either race. 

Merryweather is making her Olympic debut. 

2014 Sochi Games medalists

Gold: Mikaela Shiffrin (USA)
Silver: Marlies Schild (Austria)
Bronze: Kathrin Zettel (Austria)

2017 World Championships medalists

Gold: Mikaela Shiffrin (USA)
Silver: Wendy Holdener (Switzerland)
Bronze: Frida Hansdotter (Sweden)

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