News / Europe

US Skier Mikaela Shiffrin Makes Olympic History

Silver medalist Marlies Schild (L) of Austria, bronze medalist Kathrin Zettel (R) of Austria look at gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin (C) of U.S., during the flower ceremony for the women's alpine skiing slalom event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre, in Russia, Feb. 21, 2014.
Silver medalist Marlies Schild (L) of Austria, bronze medalist Kathrin Zettel (R) of Austria look at gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin (C) of U.S., during the flower ceremony for the women's alpine skiing slalom event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre, in Russia, Feb. 21, 2014.
Parke Brewer
— U.S. alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin put herself in the Olympic record book Friday night by winning the women's slalom ski race at the Sochi Winter Games.  VOA's Parke Brewer was at the race under the floodlights at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center and has the details.

Last February at age 17, Mikaela Shiffrin became the youngest woman in 39 years to capture an alpine skiing world championship when she won the slalom.​ Now, at age 18, she has become the youngest alpine skier of either gender to win an Olympic slalom gold medal.

Shiffrin led by nearly half a second after the first run down a difficult course that saw 23 of the 85 skiers fail to make it to the second run. Her combined time [1:44.54] was .53 seconds faster than silver medalist Marlies Schild of Austria [1:45.07]. Schild's countrywoman, Kathrin Zettel, won the bronze medal [1:45.35].

Shiffrin said she became quite emotional when she was at the starting gate ready to take her final trip down the course that featured 60 turning gates in a 200-meter vertical drop.

"I started crying a little bit and started tearing up because I was like 'this actually might happen. And I don't know what to think if it does.' And then it did happen, and I don't know what to think. So when it does happen it's hard to put into words how incredible that is," she said.

Shiffrin is already being compared to countrywoman Lindsey Vonn, a four-time overall World Cup champion who did not compete in Sochi because of a knee injury, and Slovenia's Tina Maze, who won gold medals here in both the downhill and giant slalom.

Shiffrin said she hopes to make a name for herself. "It's amazing to be compared to them, and I'm really honored to have that comparison, but I also don't want to be the young Tina Maze or the next Lindsey Vonn. I want to be Mikaela Shiffrin, and hopefully this gold medal is going to prove that," she said.

Shriffin is the world's top ranked slalom skier and she is working hard to become a better giant slalom skier. She placed fifth in that event on Tuesday.

Zettel, who said she had had such high hopes for herself in the giant slalom, but failed to win a medal, was emotional at the finish line after taking the slalom bronze.

"Three days ago my grandmother died, so I was really sad about it. It was horrible. I got a little sick, and I was tired, and everything was hard," said Zettel. "I never thought it could be [I could win a medal] this evening. So this medal means so much to me. It's so wonderful."

Schild said because she was in sixth place after the first run, she looked at her achievement as winning the silver medal and not losing the gold. And she gave Shiffrin the utmost praise.

"She's amazing. She's racing like an athlete that skis [has skied] on the World Cup [circuit] for years. And it's fun to compete against her, but it's also really hard because she's really good in every condition. And she skies really smooth and, yeah, I like to watch her, and I think she really deserves this gold medal today," said Schild.

And with it, the U.S. women's alpine ski team salvages one victory at these Winter Games. The U.S. men also have one gold with Ted Ligety's win Wednesday in the giant slalom. The final alpine event is the men's slalom Saturday.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid