Mikaela Shiffrin skied out in the Alpine combined on Thursday and once again was unable to finish a race at the Beijing Olympics.
Shiffrin’s latest mistake of the Winter Games came Thursday in the second leg of the combined, which adds the times from one downhill run and one slalom run. The American stood fifth after the downhill, certainly in contention for a higher finish, but she encountered trouble after about 10 seconds, missed a gate and ended up landing on her hip.
After falling, Shiffrin sat for a few moments in the snow alongside the course. When she eventually rose, she shook her head, then looked up at the hill, as though trying to figure out exactly where things went wrong.
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It was quite similar to what happened in each of her first two events in China: the giant slalom on Feb. 7, and the slalom on Feb. 9. She didn’t finish those, either, which was particularly stunning because they are her best events and because she is lauded by other skiers, past and present, for her technique and ability to complete the courses.
She will leave the 2022 Games without an individual medal after participating in all five women’s events. Not only did she go 0 for 5, but the 26-year-old American did not even manage to complete three of those races.
Shiffrin was fifth-fastest in the downhill portion of the two-run combined on Thursday morning but went out without making it to the bottom in the slalom leg in the afternoon.
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She took home a silver in the combined four years ago.
She came to China as one of the biggest stars in winter sports and already the owner of two Olympic gold medals — from the slalom in 2014 and the giant slalom in 2018. But her trip to China began with a mistake about five seconds into the first run of the two-leg giant slalom on Feb. 7, followed by a similar error after about the same amount of time in the first run of the two-leg slalom on Feb. 9.
The owner of three overall World Cup titles then arrived ninth in the super-G last Friday and 18th in the downhill on Tuesday. Those were her Olympic debuts in those disciplines.
Shiffrin has said she plans to appear in a sixth race on Saturday, when the Alpine schedule concludes with a team event that was added to the Olympics four years ago.
The slalom course was set by Mike Day, Shiffrin’s main coach with the U.S. ski team — the result of a random draw.
Shiffrin’s best event for years has been the slalom. She won a gold medal in that discipline at age 18 at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and her 47 career World Cup slalom victories are more than any other racer has won in any discipline.
Americans Keely Cashman was also in the top 15 heading into the slalom portion, but also did not complete her run. Isabella Wright was also in top 15 after the downhill, with a time of 1:33.72, while fellow Team USA member Patricia Mangan finished 20th in the downhill with a time of 1:35.89.
Swiss skier Michele Gisin won the combined for her second consecutive gold in the event; Shiffrin was the runner-up to her four years ago. Switzerland is the first country to win five Alpine golds at one Olympics.
Gisin's teammate, Wendy Holdener, was next, more than a second back, for the silver on Thursday, while Federica Brignone of Italy got the bronze.