BEIJING, China — The 2022 Winter Olympics have wrapped up, and for Colorado’s Mikaela Shiffrin, so did an Olympics in which she didn’t earn a medal.
It’s not how anyone, especially Shiffrin, thought things would go after competing in six events. But in sports, how an athlete ends a race sometimes is more important than how they start.
She didn’t start off well. Shiffrin skied off course and failed to finish in the giant slalom and the slalom -- her two strongest events.
"I think me and my team, I think we did everything right and it still didn’t work, so there was some puzzle piece missing," she said.
Devastated and doubting her own skiing, Shiffrin could have given up on the Olympics. She admits she considered leaving Beijing after coming up short in the slalom.
Instead, Shiffrin stayed, leaning on support from her brother, Taylor, who was watching back home in her hometown of Edwards. She said he tried to put the setback in perspective for her, just as her father would have done.
So Shiffrin did what she knew how to do: she kept racing. But she came away with zero medals -- not exactly the fairy tale ending Hollywood would write.
"That movie ending is not there," she said. "We didn’t win. We fought and then we didn’t win."
But even if Shiffrin didn’t earn a medal, she earned respect from athletes and fans around the world for staying in the race and showing even the best have moments when they’re not the best.
"You just need to get up, even if sometimes you might fail doing what you’re supposed to be doing. And gosh knows failing, even failing multiple times, it doesn’t make you a failure -- it just means you didn’t do it today, but you can rise tomorrow and keep going," Shiffrin said.
> Watch Shiffrin's full interview below:
And in those moments, at these Olympics, Shiffrin defined a champion not by the medal count, but by getting back up, by inspiring others and fighting to race in the sport she loves.
After 20 straight days of racing and training, Shiffrin is heading back to Europe to finish the last part of the World Cup season. Shiffrin is currently leading in overall World Cup points and could still take the overall title.
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