Facts about Mikaela Shiffrin
Mikaela Shiffrin Biography
Mikaela Shiffrin is the former teen prodigy who in 2013 became the youngest American alpine skier ever to win a world championship. She went on to win gold medals at the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics, and to win 13 individual world championship medals, the most in the modern era.
Mikaela Shiffrin was born in Vail, Colorado; her father was a former college ski racer and her mother was a ski instructor. Mikaela was skiing “freshies down the family driveway at age three” according to her US Ski Team bio. The family moved to New Hampshire when she was 8, and she eventually enrolled at Vermont’s Burke Mountain Academy, graduating in 2013.
Known even at a young age for her technical precision and intense work ethic, Mikaela Shiffrin was a natural for the fast turns of the slalom, giant slalom and super combined. She quickly rose beyond juniors to national competitions, and made her World Cup debut on March 11, 2011, two days before her 16th birthday, in a giant slalom in the Czech Republic. The next month she won the gold medal in the slalom at the U.S. National Championships.
The results piled up quickly from there, and her first World Cup win in December 2012 in Sweden (she was 17) was followed by her stunning win in the slalom at her very first world championship in the slalom at the 2013 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Schladming, Austria. Mikaela Shiffrin was 17, and the victory also made her the overall World Cup slalom winner for the season.
Those successes, abetted by what the New York Times called “a gleaming smile, long blond hair and no pretension,” turned Mikaela Shiffrin into a media star for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. She delivered, winning the women’s slalom in a combined time of 1:44:54. She became the youngest-ever winner of a slalom gold medal.
In the 2018 Olympics she struck again, winning the women’s giant slalom in Pyeongchang, South Korea. By that point, at age 22, she had already won 50 World Cup, national championship and Olympic competitions, mostly in slalom and giant slalom events.
Schiffrin won the women’s overall World Cup title for the 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2022 seasons. In December of 2018, with a win in the super-G event at Lake Louise in Canada, Shiffrin became the first athlete, male or female, to have career wins in all six individual World Cup disciplines: downhill, slalom, giant slalom, parallel slalom, super-G, and alpine combined.
She won her 47th World Cup slalom victory in January 0f 2022, passing Ingemark Stenmark of Sweden for the most World Cup wins ever in a single discipline. The next month she won the women’s World Cup gold medal in the giant slalom, giving her the record for the most individual world championship medals (13) in the modern era. U.S. Skiing called her “the winningest slalom skier of all time.”
Mikaela Shiffin is 1.70 meters tall (5 feet, 7 inches) and weighs 66 kilograms (145 pounds) according to Eurosport.com… Mikaela Shiffrin’s father, Jeff Shiffrin, died of a head injury after an accident at home in Edwards, Colorado on February 2, 2020. The coroner of Eagle County, Colorado ruled that the cause of death was an accidental head injury, but the nature of the accident has never been publicly released. Mikaela Shiffrin has spoken often of struggling to return to racing after her father’s death… Mikaela Shiffrin was named World Cup rookie of the year in 2012… Mikaela Shiffrin skis on Atomic skis, boots and bindings, according to the International Ski Federation… Although she is the youngest American ever to win a World Cup title, racers from other countries have won younger. The youngest ever was Christa Zechmeister of West Germany, who won a slalom competition in Val d’Isere, France on December 8, 1973 — four days after her 16th birthday.
Something in Common with Mikaela Shiffrin
4 Good Links
- The UK paper The Guardian has excellent archives of stories new and old
- All her statistics from the International Ski Federation
- Her thoughts and enthusiasms in 140 characters
- Back in time: Nicely detailed 2014 profile by The New York Times