It has been quite the emotional week for American skier Mikaela Shiffrin, who dealt with two bitter disappointments in her first two competitions before finally completing a run down the mountain Thursday in the women' Super-G.
Despite being out of medal contention, just getting a successful run appeared to boost the spirits of Shiffrin. She looked and sounded relieved to get it off her back, just two days removed from her second straight DNF.
Fortunately for Shiffrin, her significant other is with her in Beijing to support her during what has been the most difficult part of her career. That is unlike many other athletes there, who are competing without family members present.
So why is Shiffrin's boyfriend there? Because he's Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, a fellow alpine skier who is representing Norway at the Winter Olympics.
While Shiffrin has struggled thus far, Kilde rebounded to have a solid Olympic run, getting better with each event. He finished fifth in his first event, the men's downhill, followed up by a third place in the Super-G. On Thursday, he finished his Olympics with a silver medal in the men's combined.
While he hasn't had to deal with the same struggles she has, that doesn't mean he hasn't done what he can to help Shiffrin — including defending her from critics. He voiced his strong support in an Instagram post showing Shiffrin sitting on the mountain after the DNF in her second race, head down in her arms.
He said that the criticisms of Shiffrin have "frustrated" him, and asked those who were criticizing her to give support as well, and said what he saw in the photos was the sign of a true competitor, a "top athlete doing what a top athlete does."
After the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team shared the post on Twitter, Shiffrin replied that her "hope for every human is that they find another human who finds a way to love, understand, and heal them in the way" that Kilde does for her.
Even when one or both of the alpine skiing power couple aren't tat the top of their game, the struggles by Shiffrin show there is much more to their relationship than just skiing prowess.
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Mikaela Shiffrin spent time with NBC's Todd Lewis shortly after shockingly skiing out of the women's slalom event, in which she was a medal favorite.