(Refiled to remove stray word in headline) By Amy Tennery (Reuters) – Alpine skiing Olympic gold medalist Bode Miller believes nobody in his lifetime will match fellow American Mikaela Shiffrin’s extraordinary leap into the World Cup record books, saying she is a “once in a millennium” athlete. Shiffrin, 27, launched herself into the pantheon of […]
Alpine Skiing-Shiffrin record almost untouchable, says fellow American Miller
(Refiled to remove stray word in headline)
By Amy Tennery
(Reuters) – Alpine skiing Olympic gold medalist Bode Miller believes nobody in his lifetime will match fellow American Mikaela Shiffrin’s extraordinary leap into the World Cup record books, saying she is a “once in a millennium” athlete.
Shiffrin, 27, launched herself into the pantheon of sports greats as she broke Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark’s all-time record with a dominant 87th win in a slalom in Äre, Sweden on Saturday.
While European countries routinely dominate the Olympic medal table, Miller reckons her mark could stay within the grasp of the United States for decades to come.
“(Other countries) all want it – it’s an incredible record. They all want to have their athletes do it. It’s just she’s a once in a century or once a millennium type athlete,” Miller told Reuters in a telephone interview.
“I don’t think we’ll see, at least in my lifetime, anyone come close to that again. It’s just so rare.”
Shiffrin displayed an uncanny ability to shake off disappointment on the way to the top, after leaving the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games empty handed despite being widely considered as a leading contender for medals.
Months after being left in tears after skiing out of the slalom in Beijing, Shiffrin opened the World Cup season with her 75th win.
“There’s just no part of it that’s easy – the fitness and everything, preparation required. When you step in the gate and it gets quiet, you know, you’re the only one,” said Miller.
“It’s not like you have a team to support you. It’s like all eyes are on you and every consequence is on you.”
The 45-year-old six-time Olympic medallist knows well the challenges of recovering from setbacks after picking up bronze at the 2014 Games in a late-career comeback after a 2012 knee surgery led to an extended absence.
He has delved into the business of skiing since retiring from competition in 2017, designing his own Peak by Bode Miller skis and collaborating with Revo on a line of goggles.
But Miller struggled with his relationship with the media during his career under the megawatt spotlight of Olympic sport.
He predicts no such issues for Shiffrin, who already boasts her own lengthy roster of sponsors despite a clear uphill battle in a country where alpine skiing trails in popularity behind other sports.
“Life happens and it’s really tough to stay at the top for that long and keep the motivation and what it does to your body and just the pressure,” said Miller.
“She’s uniquely equipped to deal with that better than anybody else. It doesn’t burn her out the way that it does lots of people. She’s just better at it.
“You know, that’s something that I think when she’s done she’ll be even probably more proud of than the results.”
(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Ken Ferris)
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Thu, Mar 23, 2023