Mikaela Shiffrin finishes fourth in the slalom

The 22-year-old ski slope queen who has confessed to experiencing severe nerves in the past put any worries behind her to clinch gold in the giant slalom on Thursday

Also ahead of the American were Swedish duo Frida Hansdotter, a three-time world slalom medallist, and Anna Swenn Larsson. "So today, it was like all of the tools that I have that make me feel equipped to handle whatever pressure I feel, I didn't have anymore". It's nice to have that first run out of the way. She initially thought it was a virus, casting aside any suggestion that it might be nerves.

When asked what she would do to adjust in her second run, Shiffrin replied: "Same thing as yesterday, no holding back". "If you're not skiing your best and fast, then you're not on the podium". Maybe it was the hulking expectations she had placed upon herself.

Holdener wasn't able to capitalize fully on handsome first run of 48.89 seconds, as the first skier of the day, but she was delighted to have a silver medal.

It was a clutch victory for Shiffrin after all the hype surrounding her assault on at least four of the women's Olympic alpine skiing's disciplines.

It wouldn't be easy. Bronze went to Austria's Katharina Gallhuber, who had been in ninth place after the first run - but who turned in the only time below 49 seconds on the second run to vault past Shiffrin and the other skiers. Coming from behind in slalom was new territory.

In second position after the first run, Shiffrin took a deep breath before charging out of the gate. The American standout won the Olympic slalom title four years ago in Sochi when she was only 18.

Shiffrin wasn't able to claw back enough time from a first run that left her in fourth place and almost half a second behind the leaders - and that's where she remained after the top skiers raced their second and final run of the day. Especially when the event carries as many uncontrollable variables as alpine skiing. Her dream of five golds, however, is long gone.

"It nearly felt like a virus-kind-of-puking, less about nerves", Shiffrin said on NBC.

"I'm more disappointed with how I felt on my skis than being in fourth". I was nearly trying to do something special.

"I was just having a great feeling".

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But imagine just how challenging that would be. It would have been her third consecutive day of racing for a medal. Twelve hours before the race she laid her head on her pillow and tried to fall asleep.

Her whole Olympics are shifting now. "I think nearly feeling that kind of emotion, it was like I let myself feel too much yesterday". I had too much of a peak yesterday and too much of a valley today. And when you have two races in a row, it's really important to keep that mental energy stable. "I didn't do that today".

By the time the first 10 skiers had made their way down the course, Shiffrin had fallen to fourth place. But she has insisted it isn't about the records or medals. "If I don't see it I don't know what people are saying and I can ski for myself". "But the races are the ones that count".

Tessa Worley, the French world champion expected to challenge Shiffrin, recovered from a disastrous first run to clock 1:09.00, but it only lifted her to seventh.

"It was certainly not normal preparation, but I also knew going into these Olympics that it's not normal races, it's not normal preparation, so I have to be prepared for anything", Shiffrin said. "It nearly felt like a virus kind of puking, less about nerves".

"My mentality was definitely better in the second run". Every single, like, loss that I've ever had, I remember that feeling so thoroughly, it's like a piece of my heart breaks off and I can never get it back.

"She wasn't leading with those one or two seconds as she usually does, so then I felt that, 'Now, I'm really going to take that chance'".

Defending champion Mikaela Shiffrin vomited and complained of virus-like symptoms after a disappointing first leg in Friday's Olympic slalom. The times are added together, and the fastest total time determines the victor.

"Moving forward? I am awful at that". Today is no different than that.

"I know that I have a lot more speed in me", the 22-year-old Shiffrin said. "I feel like. ugh. but it is what it is".



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