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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Resigns

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid