BEIJING, China — American skier Mikaela Shiffrin was disqualified for the third time at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing while competing in the women's Alpine combined race.
The 26-year-old from Edwards, Colorado finished fifth in the downhill portion with a time of 1:32:98, putting her 0.56 seconds back of leader Christine Scheyer of Austria heading into the slalom.
However, the slalom course proved to be Shiffrin's downfall once again. She began to lose control about 10 seconds into her run, missed the gate and landed on her side.
Shiffrin was previously disqualified from her first two events, slalom and giant slalom, both of which she heavily favored to medal in.
She admitted after completing her downhill run that she was feeling nervous ahead of the slalom.
"I'm not feeling totally confident with the slalom," Shiffrin said. "I have a recurring image of myself skiing out on the fifth gate again, so I'm just going to do my best."
> Watch Shiffrin's disqualification below:
However, Shiffrin said after failing to finish that she was feeling relaxed and enjoying herself in the buildup to her slalom run.
"I've never had the experience where actually good skiing had this kind of mistakes," she said. "It wasn't actually even a mistake. I was smarter on this first pitch, the first four turns, but I wasn't even holding back."
Shiffrin said she wasn't exactly sure what caused her latest miscue.
"I was just trying to get my feet a little bit of space, trying to get my rhythm," she said. "I got my rhythm, I accelerated off the pitch. Everything there was just exactly in line with what I wanted to feel, what my best slalom can produce. And I don't know if it was combination of driver error, maybe a small little track in the snow, and maybe I can't see it or didn't react quick enough."
Shiffrin said is left desiring more after not being able to complete the course in a race.
"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," she said. "I don't know if anybody's failed that hard, with so many opportunities, maybe in the history of the Olympics. But I'll take it. It is a joke, that's fine. I just selfishly wanted to have a good run of slalom down this hill, and I'll be left wanting there."
Even though Shiffrin will leave the Beijing games without an individual medal, she's still able to find positive takeaways.
"I think there was a lot positive, and a lot of positive even in my skiing," she said. "Some of the best skiing I've ever done here in Beijing. In the training, in the downhill over the last week, in my slalom even today. And in the race, when it counts, then I didn't make it to the finish. That's never happened in my entire career, so I don't understand it. But there was so much positive that's happened in the last couple of weeks despite how much it really stinks. Sometimes you just have to take it, I guess. Try to fix it the next time"
However, Shiffrin admitted she's not sure what to correct.
"I don't know what I'm supposed to fix," she said. "That's the frustrating thing is that I don't think there's actually something to fix, it just went really wrong."
During her downhill run, Shiffrin used skis belonging to Italy's Sofia Goggia, who won the silver medal in the downhill.
"They're a pair of the skis she's currently training and competing on," Shiffrin said. "She didn't need them because she isn't competing here, so I was able to try them yesterday and ski on them today."
Goggia also left a few words of encouragement for Shiffrin.
"She actually wrote a small message on them, on a sticky note," Shiffrin said. "I saw it at the start and almost started crying because it was just like, 'You can fly on these skis,' or something like that. I'm thankful to get my feeling on those and just fly as best as I can."
The note actually said "fly Mika, you can," according to a tweet from the U.S. Ski team.
At the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, Shiffrin came in second. She also won the event at the world championships last year.
She finished with the fastest downhill time during a training session the other day, 0.93 seconds ahead of Wendy Holdener of Switzerland.
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