Mikaela Shiffrin vs. Lindsey Vonn: Alpine Combined Provides a Rare Showdown


Alpine Skiing - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Women's Alpine Combined - Jeongseon Alpine Centre - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 22, 2018 - Silver medallist Mikaela Shiffrin of the USA, gold medallist Michelle Gisin of Switzerland and bronze medallist Wendy Holdener of Switzerland celebrate during the victory ceremony.

"It's a nice way to end the Olympics", Shiffrin said of her second medal.

In the slalom section things quickly changed across the board.

With the silver, Shiffrin became the fourth American to win at least three Olympic Alpine ski medals.

Switzerland's Michelle Gisin won the gold, following the third-fastest downhill with the fourth-fastest slalom for a combined time of 2 min 20.90 sec, overtaking the lead briefly held by Shiffrin, who finished 0.97 seconds off the pace.

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But instead, Vonn's final race literally took a bad turn, as she missed a gate midway down the course and did not finish her race.

Shiffrin took home the silver medal, her second of the Games and third Olympic medal overall.

"Coming out here today, I did everything that I needed to do to have a shot for a medal, and it's really cool to have that work out", she said.

"After my downhill run I thought I would probably I would be out of the medals because I had too many mistakes", she said. With 10 still to ski, the leader was Petra Vlhova of Slovakia, definitely more of a slalom skier.

Italy's Sofia Goggia, who won the downhill gold on Wednesday, and Swiss Wendy Holdener, who grabbed silver in the slalom, could also threaten the podium. "But I feel much, much better with my slalom now than I did on the slalom race day a week ago". In the end, Shiffrin took silver, with Michelle Gisin taking gold and Wendy Holdener bronze.

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"To come away from these Olympics with two medals is insane". She didn't finish the slalom that time. And she made a decision to skip Wednesday's downhill, despite improving from the first training run to the second and again from the second to the third. "She's so young and she approaches ski racing much different than pretty much anyone else".

The last four women's Olympic combineds have been won by just two athletes - Croatia's Janica Kostelic in 2002 and 2006, and Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch in 2010 and 2014.

The pressure on Shiffrin at the Games was magnified as the media had crowned her the heir apparent to the greatest female skier of all time, fellow American Lindsey Vonn.

"I want so badly to do well for him", a tearful Vonn said just before the Olympics began. She said she was hoping to "pull off a miracle" in the afternoon. "Four years, it looks good - but anything can happen".

Those in the skiing world will point to the fact that Vonn only raced slalom three times since Thanksgiving.

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"I mean, it's incredible what she's able to accomplish". "My will is stronger than my body most of the time".