On the day Shiffrin lastly made it to the end line in a technical race at these Olympics — 4 instances, no much less — it ended up not making a distinction. Team USA was crushed by Norway within the bronze medal closing, sealing a destiny for Shiffrin that might have appeared unfathomable two weeks in the past: six occasions, zero medals.
Top-seeded Austria took the gold medal, profitable the ultimate match in a tiebreaker over Germany.
“I am not disappointed,” mentioned Shiffrin, 26. “I’ve had a lot of disappointing moments at these Games. Today is not one of them. Today is my favorite memory. This was the best possible way that I could imagine ending the Games, skiing with such strong teammates.”
In a newfangled, made-for-TV occasion that was making simply its second look on the Olympic Alpine program, Shiffrin, a three-time Olympic medalist, went head-to-head towards a counterpart from one other nation 4 instances and received solely one of many 4 — within the first spherical towards Slovakia. However, every time Shiffrin was snowboarding on the crimson course, which was demonstrably slower than the adjoining blue course.
Shiffrin misplaced by two-hundredths of a second to Italy’s Marta Bissino within the quarterfinals — a match Team USA survived due to wins by her three teammates, Paula Moltzan, Tommy Ford and River Radamus. She misplaced by a tenth of a second to Germany’s Lena Duerr within the semis, with the Americans dropping to fall into the bronze medal match.
And in her tenth and closing run of the Beijing Olympics, Shiffrin misplaced by .52 to Norway’s Thea Louise St. Jernesund. With the groups splitting the match’s 4 heats, the winner was decided by including the quickest males’s time and the quickest girls’s time — which handed Norway the bronze medal by .42.
If it was an unsatisfying ended to Shiffrin’s quest for a fourth profession Olympic medal — which might have tied her with Julia Mancuso for essentially the most by an American Alpine skier — it additionally gave her a small measure of revenge towards a course that had tormented her over the earlier two weeks.
“It’s the most special feeling, the most positive and optimistic feeling I’ve had for this whole time we’ve been here,” Shiffrin mentioned.
In the three occasions the place she had her finest probabilities at a person medal — the slalom, big slalom and Alpine mixed — she skied out every time on the course referred to as the “Ice River.” Her official end every time: DNF. She added a ninth-place end within the super-G and an 18th within the downhill — occasions through which she was not thought-about a medal favourite.
After every race, Shiffrin poured her coronary heart out to the assembled tv cameras and microphones, processing her “failures” — a phrase she used on a number of events — in real-time in entrance of the world.
“Right now,” she mentioned at one level, “I feel like a joke.”
But simply by merely tackling a sixth occasion in Beijing, Shiffrin made historical past, matching Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova (2018) for essentially the most Alpine occasions in a single Olympics. She had raced within the mixed team occasion solely as soon as earlier than in a World Cup, and by no means in an Olympics — acknowledging Sunday, “There’s been a lot of times in my career where I’ve had to put individual interests first in order to accomplish the goals I had.”
When excessive winds within the mountains northwest of Beijing on Saturday compelled officers to push the race to Sunday — the day of the Beijing Games’ Closing Ceremonies — Shiffrin had a choice to make: Leave Beijing, as scheduled, on a flight at 5 a.m. Sunday to Europe, the place she plans to renew competing on the World Cup circuit, or change her journey plans to remain and compete.
“There was absolutely some thought” about leaving, Shiffrin mentioned. “ … I decided to stay because I wanted to compete with my teammates.”
Sunday circumstances had been barely any higher, with winds gusting as much as 25 mph and temperatures that dipped to minus-3 Fahrenheit. Skiers stayed bundled of their parkas till the final second the entered the beginning gates.
The lure of one other Olympic medal — and maybe the possibility to extract a measure of revenge from the Ice River — introduced Shiffrin again to mountain one final time on Sunday. She obtained that measure of revenge, with 4 journeys throughout the end line, however the elusive medal remained simply out of attain.