VIENNA (AP) — Mikaela Shiffrin postponed her return to World Cup skiing for at least another month on Friday, pulling out of next week’s season-opening giant slalom in Austria with a back issue.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time overall World Cup champion, who hasn’t raced in nearly nine months, said she tweaked her back while skiing last week.

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“I have been advised to sit Soelden out to let my back heal so I can race the rest of the season,” Shiffrin wrote on Instagram.

The U.S. ski team added that ”Mikaela will plan to head back to the States to rest and recover, and her return to competition is TBD.”

The next races on the World Cup calendar are two parallel slaloms on Nov. 13-14 in another Austrian resort, Lech.

Shiffrin has struggled with back issues before but never sat out a World Cup race for that reason.

“Having started in Soelden for the last eight years straight, this feels… really frustrating and strange (for lack of better words). Luckily, this injury will heal and I will be back in the start soon,” said Shiffrin, who finished on the podium in Soelden five times in the past six years, winning the race in 2014.

“Okay, maybe my countdown has been delayed, but the big countdown is ON and I can’t wait for it to start,” she added.

Shiffrin has not raced since picking up her 66th career victory at a super-G in Bulgaria on Jan. 26.

First, she returned home to the United States and took a five-week break following the death of her father, Jeff Shiffrin, in early February. And when she planned to come back at races in Sweden in mid-March, the remainder of the season was canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic, with Federica Brignone ending Shiffrin’s thee-year reign as overall champion.

Earlier this week, Shiffrin said she was wondering how much time she has left in ski racing, questioning how long all the traveling and being away from home will still be worth it.

5 COMMENTS

  1. It surprised me, in a conversation with Phil Mahre, to hear him say that ski racing didn’t define who he was. It took me a while to wrap my mind around that one…and it appears that Mikaela Shiffrin is cut from the same cloth. Phil’s accomplishments didn’t end with ski racing, neither will Mikaela’s magic end when she moves on.

  2. Best wishes to Mikaela on a speedy recovery. I think one of the the biggest issues with the World Cup and ski racing in general is the vast majority of races are held in Europe. Meanwhile the United States and Canada have some of the best ski resorts in the World. One suggestion I have is to take a page out of the PGA which has tours in the United States, Europe, and South East Asia. Then have all the teams come together for majors like in golf. This would reduce travel expenses for national teams and help grow the sport of alpine ski racing.

    • Not enough interest / money in this sport. Too niche. I like the idea though. There’s certainly an element of familiarity / family / friends / close to home that makes it really hard for Americans to break through in Europe.

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