Luca Bruno/Associated Press
Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States is the world's No. 1 skier in slalom at the age of 18, but her Olympic debut didn't go quite as planned. The field was deep, but despite that she was expected to medal.
Instead, she finished fifth.
Tina Maze threw down punishing runs to win the slalom, with Anna Fenninger taking silver and Viktoria Rebensburg winning bronze.
Shiffrin is the defending world champion in slalom and, despite finishing fifth, skied like one. The problem was that she had to contend with a skier in Maze, who already has a gold under her belt at these games in the downhill.
Confidence is a killer.
Shiffrin made an honorable Olympic debut but still fell short of the expectations begat by her own precocious abilities. How precocious? Read what she said, per USA Today's David Leon Moore:
I wanted a gold, but I think this was meant to happen. I believe I wasn't going to win my first World Cup slalom until I was ready, because if I won it a minute early I wouldn't be able to continue to win. I think it's the same with GS. I was really thinking that my first GS win would be at the Olympics, and that would be such a cool thing to accomplish. But it's something I accept. I got fifth today. There are four girls who skied better that I did.
She still has a shot at the slalom, where she is also a favorite.