Shiffrin fifth but still talking the talk

Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:56am EST
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By Martyn Herman

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Just as she said, Mikaela Shiffrin had all the answers on Tuesday except where it really mattered, on the snow.

In a swirling storm the much-hyped American teenager could finish only fifth in the giant slalom, her first Olympic race, despite being strongly tipped for a podium place.

Speaking to reporters a few days ago after flying in to Sochi, Alpine skiing's slalom world champion said she had gone through every possible scenario in her mind in the build-up to the Games, including answering questions from journalists.

True to her word, she handled the reporters with ease after finishing outside the medals, explaining that but for a few mistakes she could have won gold.

"Theoretically I could have won the first run and then won the second run, there's so many ways this goes down," the 18-year-old said after finishing behind gold medalist Tina Maze, Anna Fenninger, Viktoria Rebensburg and Nadia Fanchini.

"I felt pretty good for most of the run and just a couple of turns that I scrubbed some skis and wasn't quite as clean.

"I'm thinking gold medal but...I made up some time, at the end of the first run, nine 10ths off, and second run five 10ths off. It boiled down to a couple of turns."

Shiffrin has never won a giant slalom on the World Cup but has dominated the slalom season and tops the standings, so she will be a big favorite for Friday's final women's race.   Continued...

Mikaela Shiffrin of the U.S. clears a gate during the second run of the women's alpine skiing giant slalom event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center February 18, 2014. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini