Shiffrin flattered by Vonn praise but rejects talk of World Championship domination

Lindsey Vonn said Mikaela Shiffrin could win medals in all FIS Alpine World Ski Championships events, a claim rejected by the 23-year-old.

Mikaela Shiffrin says Lindsey Vonn is wrong to suggest the 23-year-old will comfortably claim the slalom and giant slalom titles at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.

Shiffrin has been the dominant force throughout the current FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup and has already claimed one world gold in Are this week in the super-G.

Over the past two seasons the American has victories in all six disciplines – the first athlete to achieve the feat – and she is the favourite to claim the overall globe and at least two event titles.

That led to the retiring Vonn to question why Shiffrin opted out of the alpine combined and downhill in Sweden, suggesting she would have medalled in every race.

However, Shiffrin insists that while it may look easy for her to compete across the disciplines, it is far from the case and she chose to skip some events to protect her body.

“I have to say, I’m flattered by some recent comments by Bode [Miller] and Lindsey [Vonn] saying that they think I would have been a contender in five events this World Champs,” Shiffrin posted on Instagram.

“However, as the one who has been trying to race in every discipline this season, and who has won in five disciplines this season alone, I can tell you that not a single one of those wins was ‘easy’.

“There is no such thing as an easy win. From the outside, people see the records and stats. As I have said, those numbers dehumanise the sport and what every athlete is trying to achieve.

“What I see is an enormous mixture of work, training, joy, heartache, motivation, laughs, stress, sleepless nights, triumph, pain, doubt, certainty, more doubt, more work, more training, surprises, delayed flights, cancelled flights, lost luggage, long drives through the night, expense, more work, adventure, and some races mixed in there.”

I have to say, I’m flattered by some recent comments by Bode and Lindsey saying that they think I would have been a contender in 5 events this World Champs. However, as the one who has been trying to race in every discipline this season, and who has won in 5 disciplines this season alone, I can tell you that not a single one of those wins was “easy”. There is no such thing as an easy win. From the outside, people see the records and stats. As I have said, those numbers dehumanize the sport and what every athlete is trying to achieve. What I see is an enormous mixture of work, training, joy, heartache, motivation, laughs, stress, sleepless nights, triumph, pain, doubt, certainty, more doubt, more work, more training, surprises, delayed flights, canceled flights, lost luggage, long drives through the night, expense, more work, adventure, and some races mixed in there. I don’t have the Slalom and GS season titles in the bag, and I don’t have the Slalom or GS World Champs medals in the bag either. The girls are competitive and it’s a fight, every single race. Everyone has their sights set on gold, so to think that I could come in and waltz away with 4 or 5 medals would be a wild miscalculation and honestly disrespectful to the talent and ability of the other athletes, and how much work they have also put into their skiing. At 23, I’m still understanding my full potential as well as my limitations. But I have definitely learned not to let hubris dictate my expectations and goals. My goal has never been to break records for most WC wins, points or most medals at World Champs. My goal is to be a true contender every time I step into the start, and to have the kind of longevity in my career that will allow me to look back when all is said and done and say that – for a vast majority of the duration of my career – I was able to compete and fight for that top step rather than being sidelined by getting burnt out or injured from pushing beyond my capacity. It is clear to me that many believe I am approaching my career in a way that nobody has before, and people don’t really understand it. But you know what?! That is completely fine by me, because I am ME, and no one else.

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The double Olympic champion added: “I don’t have the slalom and GS [giant slalom] season titles in the bag, and I don’t have the slalom or GS World Champs medals in the bag either.

“The girls are competitive and it’s a fight, every single race. Everyone has their sights set on gold, so to think that I could come in and waltz away with four or five medals would be a wild miscalculation and honestly disrespectful to the talent and ability of the other athletes, and how much work they have also put into their skiing.

“At 23, I’m still understanding my full potential as well as my limitations. But I have definitely learned not to let hubris dictate my expectations and goals.

“My goal has never been to break records for most WC [World Cup] wins, points or most medals at World Champs.

“My goal is to be a true contender every time I step into the start, and to have the kind of longevity in my career that will allow me to look back when all is said and done and say that – for a vast majority of the duration of my career – I was able to compete and fight for that top step rather than being sidelined by getting burnt out or injured from pushing beyond my capacity.

“It is clear to me that many believe I am approaching my career in a way that nobody has before, and people don’t really understand it. But you know what?! That is completely fine by me, because I am ME, and no one else.”

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