Shiffrin sore but relieved after avoiding more serious injury in downhill crash (2024)

CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy (AP) — After one of the scariest crashes of her career, Mikaela Shiffrin is relieved it wasn’t worse.

The American skier with a record 95 World Cup wins is “pretty sore,” her coach said, but doesn’t appear to have any ligament damage in her left knee. She won’t race again this weekend, though, and it’s unclear when she’ll return.

“She’s actually quite good,” U.S. team coach Paul Kristofic said after Shiffrin slammed into the safety nets at high speed during a World Cup downhill on Friday.

“She’s positive and in a certain way relieved,” Kristofic told The Associated Press. “Because it could have been worse. But she’s pretty sore, as you are for most speed crashes. But she was quite upbeat about things.”

Shiffrin lost control while landing a jump in a patch of soft snow on the upper portion of the Olympia delle Tofane course that will be used for the 2026 Milan-Cortina Olympics. Then she slammed into the net at high speed.

Medics tended to Shiffrin immediately and she limped off the course with her left boot raised off the snow. As per the protocol in Cortina, Shiffrin was loaded into a helicopter and taken halfway down the mountain to a landing area for further evaluations. Then she was transported by ambulance to a hospital in Cortina.

“Initial analysis shows the ACL and PCL seem intact,” Shiffrin’s team said in a statement.

Shiffrin wrote later on Instagram, “Very thankful it’s not worse, but I’m pretty sore at the moment.”

She fell about 20 seconds into her run just before the narrow Tofana schuss — or chute — through walls of rock, which is the most characteristic feature of the biggest women’s race of the season.

“It’s tricky there,” Kristofic said, “because you’re landing it and it’s a left-footed turn that has a pretty sharp drop. And she was carrying more speed than she did in the training run. And then she probably trimmed a little more line than she should have. And it pushed her about a meter too far left. And that’s where the terrain change is quite abrupt.

“So it loaded the ski up like crazy and that’s when things started. She tried to save it but she knew at that point where she was in trouble. So she was actually trying not to hit the next gate, and that’s when it just caught and she went flying into the net.”

In an otherwise record-breaking career, Shiffrin also had some high-profile mishaps at the Beijing Olympics two years ago, when she didn’t finish three of her five individual races.

“She doesn’t fall often,” Kristofic said. “But it can happen. It just goes to show you how on the limit athletes push and and how the courses push them. And they have to if they want to be competitive.”

Shiffrin said she won’t race again in Cortina this weekend, and will also sit out a giant slalom at the nearby Kronplatz resort on Tuesday.

“Beyond that, it’s quite hard to say right now,” Shiffrin added. “Need a little time to process with my team and see how everything is feeling in the coming days!”

Attempting to match Annemarie Moser-Pröll’s record with a sixth overall title, Shiffrin holds a 340-point lead over Lara Gut-Behrami, with Federica Brignone 422 points back.

Other top skiers also crashed. Brignone got up and skied down after she went down. Olympic downhill champion Corinne Suter pulled up midway down her run, clutched her left knee, and was airlifted away. Suter tore her ACL and damaged her meniscus and is out for the season. Michelle Gisin, a two-time Olympic champion, hurt her right tibia and won’t race again this weekend.

In all, 12 of 52 starters didn’t finish the race, which was won by Stephanie Venier of Austria.

The downhill was held amid clear and sunny conditions but warm temperatures.

Shiffrin and Brignone became the fourth and fifth former overall World Cup champions to crash in the past two weeks following season-ending injuries to Alexis Pinturault, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde and Petra Vlhova.

Kilde is Shiffrin’s boyfriend and Vlhova is her biggest rival.

“It’s just part of the game,” Kristofic said. “She doesn’t have the speed mileage that a lot of the veteran speed skiers do. So it’s always a learning process. You learn from successes and tough days and you put that into the vault and lean on that as you move forward.”

Shiffrin’s crash overshadowed a big day for the rest of the U.S. team, which had five racers finish in the top 30 to score points: Jacqueline Wiles was 13th, Lauren Macuga 16th, Bella Wright 18th, Keely Cashman 27th and Tricia Mangan 28th.


AP skiing:

Shiffrin sore but relieved after avoiding more serious injury in downhill crash (2024)
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