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After another heartbreaking fall, Shiffrin searches for answers


Mikaela Shiffrin after skiing out on her first run in the women’s slalom on Wednesday.

By Matt Futterman and Daniel Victor


It was a heartbreaking fall, her second in three days. Mikaela Shiffrin sat on the snow next to the course, her head down in her folded arms as she tried to figure out what had happened.

Shiffrin didn’t have answers.


“I had the intention to do my best skiing and my quickest turns,” Shiffrin told reporters, fighting back tears. “But in order to do that, I had to push the line, the tactics. And it is really on the limit then. And things happen so fast that there was really not space to slip up, even a little bit.”


As her rivals passed her on their first runs while she sat alone, Shiffrin said, she was overcome by disappointment and a feeling of having let herself and others down.


“I was trying to look back and think back on the last days,” she said, “and think what I have been trying to do and what I have been doing with my skiing that would suggest that on the fifth gate I would push myself a little bit too hard to actually not be able to stay on the course.”


Some on social media criticized NBC for keeping a camera focused on Shiffrin as she sat contemplating her performance. Shortly after her disqualification, gymnast Simone Biles tweeted in support of her.


Biles’ decision not to withdraw from events at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, some Olympians have said, has led them to explore — and share — their own vulnerabilities.


Already, the first week of the Games has been full of falls and disappointing finishes. On Wednesday, American snowboarder Jamie Anderson, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in slopestyle who finished ninth in the event at these Games, took to Instagram to express her sense of vulnerability.


“I just straight up couldn’t handle the pressure,” she wrote. “Had an emotional break down the night before finals and my mental health and clarity just hasn’t been on par. Looking forward to some time off and self care.”

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