U.S. two-time gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin failed to finish the Alpine Combined on Thursday after skidding out in the slalom portion of the two-leg event. She had the fifth-fasted run in the downhill portion, but slaloms — her specialty — have proved difficult for her in the Beijing Olympics. This is the third event she had to ski out of, and she did not place higher than ninth in the two events she completed.
Shiffrin entered the slalom leg "in fifth place after a strong downhill," The Washington Post reports. "Given the strengths of the skiers around her in the standings, she appeared poised for a redemptive medal, the likely favorite to win gold," but instead it ended with her "stomping around in a puff of snow, wondering how it went so wrong." Shiffrin won a silver in the combined four years ago and the gold in giant slalom, following her gold medal in the slalom in 2014.
"I wanted to ski just a good run of slalom, and, I don't know, I feel like a joke — but maybe it made someone smile," Shiffrin said after the race. Her slalom run started out good, and she was relaxed and enjoying herself before she lost her balance at the 10th gate and fell two gates later, she said. "Oh, man, I don't know if anybody's failed that hard with so many opportunities maybe in the history of the Olympics, but I will take it."
Shiflin won't medal in an individual event this year, but she still has a chance at group medal in the team event on Saturday.