PYEONGCHANG, South Korea: Mikaela Shiffrin and Lindsey Vonn head up a US women’s alpine ski team aiming to dominate the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Shiffrin is just 22 but already has 40 World Cup victories already to her name. She arrives in South Korea as reigning Olympic slalom champion, but can harbour hopes of a rare multi-medal haul because of a schedule she herself might have drawn up.
The opening giant slalom on Monday is followed by her slalom title defense, the super-G, downhill, combined and team events. A positive start in the giant slalom, and Shiffrin would be en route to multiple medals.
“If I compete in four events, it’s because I think I have shot to medal in four events,” said the American, who is the three-time defending world slalom champion having first won aged 17 in 2013.
“Five might be biting off too much. Even though I did go on record saying I want five gold medals — I want the world and (to be) the king of the universe and all those things.”
She captured four races in seven days to begin 2018, and, importantly, claimed a first victory in a downhill, in Lake Louise in December.
It is, however, Shiffrin’s team-mate Vonn, a four-time overall World Cup champion, who leads the race (81) to overtake Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark’s record of 86 victories on the World Cup circuit.
Vonn won Olympic gold in the downhill and super-G bronze at the 2010 Games, but missed the 2014 Olympics through injury.
As one of the most recognizable sportswomen in the world, Vonn will bring more than a little stardust to the slopes.
“I have so much confidence right now in my skiing, mentally, and my equipment,” Vonn said. “Everything is coming together better than I could have hoped or planned for.
“And now I go into Korea with a couple of wins under my belt and I’m just really looking forward to skiing the same way… full charge! No holding back.
“I’m going to lay it all out on the table and see what happens.”