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

Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Accuses Russia of Territorial Incursionsi
X
Zlatica Hoke
August 28, 2014 4:07 AM
Ukraine says a key border town (Novoazovsk) and surrounding areas of in southeastern Ukraine have fallen under the control of Russia's military. President Poroshenko says "Russian troops have actually been brought into Ukraine." Despite repeated denials from Moscow, Ukraine accuses the Kremlin of providing weapons and fighters to separatists in eastern Ukraine, toward the Russian leadership's alleged goal of annexing that strategic territory. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Accuses Russia of Territorial Incursions

Ukraine says a key border town (Novoazovsk) and surrounding areas of in southeastern Ukraine have fallen under the control of Russia's military. President Poroshenko says "Russian troops have actually been brought into Ukraine." Despite repeated denials from Moscow, Ukraine accuses the Kremlin of providing weapons and fighters to separatists in eastern Ukraine, toward the Russian leadership's alleged goal of annexing that strategic territory. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid