Shiffrin eyes multiple medal haul at Pyeongchang

News Hour:

US alpine ski star Mikaela Shiffrin,who captured her third consecutive world slalom title last weekend in Switzerland, is looking at a possible multiple medal haul at next year’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

The 21-year-old American will defend slalom gold next February 13 in South Korea after winning at Sochi in 2014 at age 18, becoming the youngest Olympic slalom champion in history.

“Performing at the Olympics is on a whole other level because it’s only once every four years. It sets you up for the rest of your career. So there is a lot more pressure,” Shiffrin said in a US Olympic Committee conference call.

“It’s going to be a totally new feeling having won a gold medal and competed at an Olympics before. There are more expectations around me having won a gold medal. I sort of have to take it in stride.”

But Shiffrin, who finished second in the giant slalom at this month’s world championships, said the worlds made her “think more about big competitions and my goals” for Pyeongchang, looking beyond her usual disciplines for medals in Super G and combined as well.

“Downhill isn’t even out of the question either,” she said. “I’m trying to set myself up to be a medal contender in three or four events, which would really be incredible.”

Shiffrin said the intense training and competition at worlds could pay off in South Korea next year as well as in Switzerland last week.

“These are the kinds of periods I can make breakthroughs — with my skiing, with my equipment, with my mentality — that will help me through the Olympics,” Shiffrin said.

“They could be the difference between 10th place and getting a medal.”

But the next year also offers rivals time to improve and challenge Shiffrin’s slalom throne.

“There’s time for other athletes to improve,” she said. “Anybody who is winning World Cup races is generally going to be good competition at the Olympics. The girls who have been strong the past few years will continue to be strong.

“It will be great competition at Pyeongchang. There will be a couple girls who haven’t been strong this year who will turn on the afterburners. We’re still a year out. There’s time for things to change.”

But Shiffrin has clearly made herself the woman to beat in her speciality,tweeting this week after her successful worlds effort, “I may not be a real superhero, but I got to feel like one.”

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