American teenage sensation Mikaela Shiffrin will have to quickly change gears and turn her attention to the slalom after failing to medal in the women's alpine skiing giant slalom competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics on Tuesday.
She finished in fifth place with a combined time of 2:37:37. Slovenia's Tina Maze won the gold medal with a combined time of 2:36:87 while Austria's Anna Fenninger recorded a combined time of 2:36:95 to secure silver. Germany's Viktoria Rebensburg completed won a bronze medal with a combined time of 2:37:14 to complete the podium.
Here's the results for the top-10 finishers:
|Rank||Country||Name||Run 1 Time||Run 2 Time||Total Time|
|1||SLO||Tina Maze||1:17:88||1:18.99 (+1.09)||2:36:87|
|2||AUT||Anna Fenninger||1:18.73 (+0.85)||1:18.21 (+0.31)||2:36.94|
|3||GER||Viktoria Rebensburg||1:19.24 (+1.36)||1:17.90||2:37.14|
|4||ITA||Nadia Fanchini||1:18.53 (+0.65||1:18.72 (+0.82)||2:37.25|
|5||USA||Mikaela Shiffrin||1:18.79 (+0.91)||1:18.58 (+0.68)||2:37.37|
|6||SWE||Maria Pietilae-Holmner||1:19.45 (+1.57)||1:18.37 (+0.47)||2:37.82|
|7||SWE||Jessica Lindell-Vikarby||1:18.40 (+0.52)||1:19.62 (+1.72)||2:38.02|
|8||FRA||Anemone Marmottan||1:19.69 (+1.81)||1:18.79 (+0.89)||2:38.48|
|9||SUI||Lara Gut||1:20.54 (+2.66)||1:18.10 (+0.20)||2:38.64|
|10||SUI||Dominique Gisin||1:19.99 (+2.11)||1:19.59 (+1.69)||2:39.58|
Barry Svrluga of The Washington Post provided an assessment of Shiffrin's performance following the event:
Mikaela Shiffrin fifth in the giant slalom. Her assessment: For first Olympic race, not bad.— Barry Svrluga (@barrysvrluga) February 18, 2014
The 18-year-old entered the Games having had plenty of success in the giant slalom, earning two World Cup podium finishes in the event earlier this season. However, the first-time Olympian wasn't able to turn in the time she had hoped for during her first go-around on alpine skiing's biggest stage.
Still, as the defending world champion in slalom, Shiffrin will be a favorite in her preferred event on Friday.
Despite competing in her first Olympic Games and carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders, Shiffrin remained poised ahead of Tuesday's competition, admitting that she can only do so much to help the U.S. ski team succeed, per The New York Times' Bill Pennington:
"I’m not thinking about it that way. I’m going to do the best in my events, and if that means I up the medal count, then that’s great because I’m here to ski for the U.S. But I’m not the only one."
Given her inexperience and the incredible amount of pressure she's under, there's no doubt that Shiffrin is taking the right approach to her Olympic journey. Although her frustrating performance in the giant slalom suggests she'll need to adjust, it's difficult to argue with her relaxed mindset.
Still, the pressure will only increase in the coming days as Shiffrin gears up for her signature event. Without a medal in giant slalom, there'll be no avoiding the monumental expectations.
I cant be the only one curious to watch @MikaelaShiffrin tomorrow can I? They call her the Mozart of skiing! Really intriguing concept.— Josh Grubbs (@joshuajgrubbs) February 17, 2014
Having dominated the slalom all across the world in recent years, anything less than gold will likely be considered a massive disappointment.
With the spotlight heating up, how Shiffrin is able to handle the increased attention and immense scrutiny ahead of her final competition will more than likely determine where she winds up on the podium on Friday, if at all.
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