Feb. 12 (UPI) — Mikaela Shiffrin placed ninth in the first practice run for the women’s downhill event on Saturday.
Shiffrin, 26, finished the longest course in alpine skiing with a time of 1:34.80 after showing strength in second gear and the middle portions of the course. She is due to hit the slopes of the Yanqing National Alpine Ski Center, known as The Rock, on Tuesday for the medal event.
Prisa Nufer of Sweden finished the practice in first place with a time of 1:33.47 and was followed by Kira Weidle of Germany and Christine Scheyer of Austria amid a series of 16 potential disqualifications. The reason for the potential disqualifications was not immediately known.
The end of Shiffrin’s training shows signs of hope for the athlete and the USA team after she failed to medal in Friday’s super-G race and a disappointing start to the Beijing Games.
The star athlete spoke about the pressures to perform during the Olympics in a Instagram post ahead of Saturday’s practice race.
“It’s wonderful to train and compete alongside all of these brave and amazing women, who have overcome so much in their lives, just to get here. But being here can also really hurt,” Shiffrin wrote in the post.
“There’s a lot of disappointment and grief in the finish area, but there’s also a lot of support.”
Shiffrin, already a two-time Olympic gold medalist, likened the Olympics to a roller coaster ride and said she was ready to “hold on to the roller coaster because we still have a lot to do”.
“Sending my love to those who feel that stinging hurt of defeat…let it bring you down a little bit then you get back up and throw back some punches,” she wrote.
Shiffrin, a Colorado native, struggled to acclimatize to the very dense artificial snow of the Beijing course and skied both the giant slalom and the slalom, his two strongest events.
According to AccuweatherBeijing saw flurries of real snowfall on Saturday as the region expected between 3 and 6 inches of snow through Sunday evening.