Picture this scenario: you’re 18 years old, and you just made your debut at the Olympic Games. Not only that, but you left those Games with your first gold medal, the youngest to ever do that in your event. Pretty incredible stuff. What do you do next?
Most people in this spot would probably take some time to relax after putting in all the hard work it took to get here, catch back up with some family and friends at home, and generally bask in the moment. Who could blame them?
Of course, if you happen to be Mikaela Shiffrin, that’s not your style. After all, there’s more Olympics to be had.
At a press conference on Saturday, Shiffrin stated that her goal for the 2018 Games in South Korea is to become the first woman ever to sweep all five alpine events.
“I’m still young and I still have a lot of strength to gain over the next few summers of conditioning and the next few winters of skiing,” Shiffrin was quoted in USA TODAY. “I don’t want to push myself too far too fast and definitely don’t get greedy, but at the same time, I’m a dreamer.
“So right now I’m dreaming of the next Olympics, winning five gold medals. Which sounds really crazy. Sorry I just admitted that to you all.”
Does it sound crazy? A little bit. But that really isn’t a bad thing. After all, who among us didn’t marvel at the run Michael Phelps had in 2008, when he won eight gold medals in Beijing? If you don’t allow yourself to realize that even incredible things are possible, then you can’t ever really hope to achieve them.
If – and it’s admittedly a big if – Shiffrin can achieve her dream sweep, it would give her six gold medals at just the age of 22. Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso are 29 this year and are planning to compete in 2018, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Shiffrin were able to compete at a high level to the 2022 games or beyond.
Outside of the Olympics, it can be difficult for skiers to stay relevant in the American sports discussion, but with this type of goal out there, all eyes are now firmly going to be on Mikaela Shiffrin, and it seems like that’s just how she likes it.