December 20, 2012 in Are, Sweden started off with the normal hustle and bustle of an FIS World Cup Skiing event. By day’s end, Are and the rest of the skiing world was introduced to 16-year-old American Mikaela Schiffrin, who took first in the slalom race. Two weeks later, just to prove that what happened in Are was no fluke, Schiffrin took first again in the slalom at the meet held in Zagreb, Croatia.
She capped off her emergence onto the world stage by taking gold in the slalom at the 2013 World Championships at the age of 17. With a target on her back, Schiffrin has already started her 2014 season on the right foot as she has already finished second twice in the giant slalom with a second-place finish in the slalom a few days ago in an event held in Lienz, Austria.
In her young career, Schiffrin has already won five races, all of them coming in the slalom. She has finished on the podium 12 times with eight coming in the slalom, three in the giant slalom and one in the parallel slalom, having won the slalom discipline title during the 2013 season. There is no question that she is without a doubt the best young American downhill skier and this prodigy is only beginning to scratch the surface of her immense potential.
As Schiffrin heades to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, there is no question that she will very likely be the favorite to take gold in the slalom, while she will be in contention to to finish on the podium in the giant slalom. During the games, we can expect NBC to focus on her exploits early in her career, so expect her to come out of Sochi as one of the next big American Olympians who benefits from the two weeks under the spotlight.
And if she is able to win a gold, Lindsey Vonn might relinquish her title as the queen of American downhill skiing sooner rather than later.