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Winter Olympics 2018: Mikaela Shiffrin needs to prioritise events to avoid fatigue, says coach Mike Day

Pyeongchang: Mikaela Shiffrin will try to make it two Olympic gold medals in the space of 24 hours on Friday when the American looks to defend her precious slalom title.

But the 22-year-old, set to start as favourite to do just that, could be forced to scale back on her plans to dominate — Michael Phelps-style — the women's alpine skiing in Pyeongchang.

Tha American superstar who won gold in Sochi four years ago, got off to the perfect start by capturing the giant slalom on title Thursday after the weather finally cooperated with race organisers.

Alpine Skiing – Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Women's Giant Slalom – Yongpyong Alpine Centre - Pyeongchang, South Korea – February 15, 2018 - Gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin of the U.S. celebrates during the victory ceremony. REUTERS/Mike Segar - DEVEE2F0MPYFU

Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates after winning the giant slalom event. Reuters

But after fierce winds forced the postponement of alpine skiing events earlier this week, a compressed schedule could yet conspire to dash Shiffrin's plans.

"It was extremely difficult," coach Mike Day told reporters. "To deal with that stretch of time was a challenge, but obviously she's a true champion and showed it today."

American officials are anxious not to overburden Shiffrin, who would need to compete in three races in three days if she takes part in Saturday's Super-G.

"It's going to be a challenge having all these races now back to back to back," said Day.

"We're going to have to make some tough choices, but appropriate choices moving forward to make sure we keep the fatigue in the right spot to perform later in the Games."

The women's downhill takes place next Wednesday with the combined event two days later.

Pushed too hard

Shiffrin, who has posted 41 World Cup victories, may opt to prioritise those and skip the Super-G.

Day noted that Shiffrin's schedule would need to be managed, wary of a dip in form similar to the one that saw her fail to finish a slalom in Lenzerheide, Switzerland last month.

"We pushed too hard there and for one week we paid for it," he said. "But she's performing at such an amazing level this year that we were able to make that recovery, for her to come in here with high energy and her very best skiing.

"Truthfully, run one today was a far cry from the skiing that she's been doing," Day added.

"But to do it on demand like that (in run two) is absolutely amazing."

Day also paid tribute to the way Shiffrin has handled the pressure.

"She's doing a great job managing the nerves," he said. "It's huge to get the first one out of the way. It really sets a great tone. It takes a little bit of pressure off to be able to do that right away and make that kind of statement."


Published Date: Feb 15, 2018 16:58 PM | Updated Date: Feb 15, 2018 16:58 PM

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