Mikaela Shiffrin survived an Olympic debut plagued by fog, rain and heavy snow on Tuesday, but America’s teen skiing sensation left Sochi’s slopes with her future looking bright as ever.
The 18-year-old didn’t medal in the women’s giant slalom, but her fifth-place finish against the world’s best in difficult conditions set the stage for Friday’s slalom, Shiffrin’s marquee event.
Shiffrin won the World Cup slalom title last year and has dominated again this season, with three victories in six races. Getting through Tuesday’s race without letting her nerves get rattled by a 14-minute weather delay and sketchy visibility strengthens the belief that she’ll become the Olympics’ youngest female slalom champion.
For the moment, that distinction belongs to Paoletta Magoni, who was 19 at Sarajevo in 1984. But the Italian’s hold on that record appears more tenuous than ever.