American skier Mikaela Shiffrin again crashes, misses medal in fifth event

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(BEIJING) — U.S. skier Mikaela Shiffrin on Thursday crashed out in the slalom in the women’s Alpine combined event, bringing to a close the six-time world champion’s bid for an individual medal in Beijing.

Shiffrin had been in fifth place after the downhill section of the event, but her crash meant that she would not finish, the third time she’s done so in these Winter Games.

“A heartbreaking DNF for @MikaelaShiffrin,” the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team said on Twitter Thursday. “This has been a challenging #Olympics. Thanks to the fans for all of your support.”

Michelle Gisin of Switzerland will take home the gold in the combined event, with the silver going to teammate Wendy Holdener and the bronze to Italy’s Federica Brignone.

Shiffrin started the Games one medal away from tying the record for most Olympic medals by a female American Alpine skier — four. She is two gold medals away from holding the record for most golds ever by a female Alpine skier — also four.

On Tuesday, Shiffrin came up empty handed in her fourth competition, placing 18th in the downhill skiing event. She finished ninth in the super-G event.

She also said last week she may also compete in the team event, which she had not planned to enter coming into the Games.

Shiffrin had been expected to be a downhill contender on Tuesday, although the event wasn’t her strongest. Her time of 1:34.36 placed her 2:49 behind Corinne Suter of Switzerland, who took gold with a time of 1:31.87. Italy brought home both the silver and bronze medals, with Sofia Goggia finishing in 1:32.03 and Nadia Delago finishing in 1:32.44.

“Racing DH tomorrow!” Shiffrin said on Twitter on Monday. “The track is spectacular and I have ‘overthought’ the crap out of it over the last couple days so it’s prob time to just point ‘em straight and get low.”

Shiffrin last week finished ninth in the super-G, with Switzerland’s Lara Gut-Behrami winning gold, her second medal of the Games.

Two days earlier, Shiffrin had shockingly busted out of the competition just seconds into the first run of the slalom. Shiffrin missed the fourth gate in her run, the event where she won her first Olympic gold in 2014.

The skier, who was expected to challenge for several medals in Beijing, sat on the side of the hill, with her head in her hands, for 20 minutes after the stunning accident.

The 26-year-old also fell during her first run in the giant slalom last Monday, disqualifying her from the event.

“Could blame it on a lot of things…and we’ll analyze it till the cows come home, but not today,” Shiffrin said on Instagram following that crash. “Today I chalk it up to really awful timing of a really frustrating mistake. Moving focus to slalom now, AND cheering for my teammates in the second run of the GS and the DH!”

Sweden’s Sara Hector took the gold in the giant slalom with a time of 1:55:68, followed by Italy’s Federica Brignone with a time of 1:55.97 and Gut-Behrami with a time of 1:56:41.

Shiffrin, a Colorado native, has been competing since she was 16 and quickly became one of the sport’s all-time greatest skiers with her record-setting performances. She is the most decorated Alpine skier in the world circuit having won 11 World Championship medals, six gold.

At 18 years old she became the youngest slalom champion when she won a gold medal in the 2014 Sochi Games. Shiffrin won a gold medal in the giant slalom competition and a silver medal in the combined competition during the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.

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