American snowboarding star Mikaela Shiffrin will kick off her bid for extra World Cup dominance in Soelden on the weekend, the Austrian resort being the primary cease of a season that additionally options the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing in February 2022.
Shiffrin gained the general girls’s World Cup title for 3 straight years to 2019.
But that streak ended with a horrible season marked by the sudden dying of her father in February 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic and a again harm as she went winless for the primary time since her debut marketing campaign, 2011-12, when she was 16.
Last season she had three wins, one within the big slalom and two within the slalom, to take her World Cup tally to 69, which incorporates one downhill and 4 in super-G.
Last season, Shiffrin centered on the technical occasions, the slalom and the large slalom, as she rebuilt following a nightmarish 2019-20 season.
Her profitable World Championships final February in Cortina d’Ampezzo, the place she completed on the rostrum in all 4 of her races and gained the mixed, might function a blueprint for the February 4-20 Beijing Olympics the place she might win a 3rd consecutive gold in slalom. But extra instantly urgent is the beginning of the World Cup season.
“I’d be far more disappointed if I had essentially skied slow or not stacked up for any of the World Cup races, but somehow won an individual or multiple medals at the Olympics,” Shiffrin stated.
“Luck sways the Olympic results so much more than it does in any normal World Cup or when you look at the results for throughout an entire season.”
The World Cup circuit this season features a swing by Canada and the United States, reinstated after they had been cancelled final yr due to the pandemic, for the primary time for the reason that 1973-74 season.
France’s Alexis Pinturault and Slovakian Petra Vlhova had been topped final season’s total World Cup winners.
Shiffrin will face a stiff problem within the technical occasions not solely from Vlhova but in addition Austrian Katharina Liensberger.
Liensberger beat Vlhova and Shiffrin to slalom gold on the earth championships in Cortina by a crushing margin, occurring to win parallel gold and bronze within the big slalom.
The 24-year-old Austrian additionally gained the season finale in Lenzerheide by 1.24 seconds forward of Shiffrin.
The American, regardless of solely being two years her senior, has hailed Liensberger as main the brand new era of skiers.
Either approach, Shiffrin has stated she desires to attempt to additionally win in velocity occasions this season.
“Ideally, I’ll be running a similar schedule to what I’ve had in years prior to last season, but we’ll have to see how that goes,” she stated.
She has her sights set on the report of 86 victories, all within the slalom or big slalom, set by Ingemar Stenmark of Sweden between 1974 and 1989. Only compatriot Lindsey Vonn (82) has extra in girls’s racing.
On the lads’s facet, Pinturault claimed final season’s total on the again of smaller globes within the big slalom and parallel, changing into the primary French skier since Luc Alphand in 1997 to win the massive globe.
Veterans Beat Feuz of Switzerland and Austrian Vincent Kriechmayr, who gained a velocity double on the Cortina worlds, can once more be anticipated to bother the rostrum all through the season, with the lads’s stand-out downhill races approaching the latter’s home snow within the famed resort of Kitzbuehel in January.
Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt and Austrian Marco Schwarz will certainly problem Pinturault in his quest for a back-to-back title.
After a season with races held behind closed doorways, Soelden’s Rettenbach glacier, at greater than 3,000 metres altitude, will once more welcome the general public, however following enhanced well being security protocols.
A possible headache awaits as a two-week quarantine beckons for these non-vaccinated skiers for 2 weekends in Canada (November 26-28, males; December 3-5, girls).
“The goal is to maintain the entire World Cup calendar in all events,” an official from the worldwide ski federation (FIS) instructed AFP.
“If national regulations become too restrictive for entry into the country for a majority of racers, the FIS will study these case by case.”