Editor’s note on March 6: The International Ski Federation has officially announced the cancellation of the World Cup Finals.
Mikaela Shiffrin Thursday tweeted she’s flying to Scandinavia to possibly return to ski-racing action after more than a month off following the accidental death of her father, Jeff, in early February.
“I am flying to Scandinavia today,” Shiffrin tweeted Thursday morning. “I have no promises if I’ll actually be able to race when the time comes, and I don’t really even have goals. I just hope to make a few good turns. I think that would make my dad happy.”
Shiffrin also posted a video statement, including this lengthy post on Instagram:
“Over the last few weeks, my family and I have received an overwhelming amount of support and love. The most kind and heartwarming messages you could imagine, checking in on us, sharing quotes and poems, song-lyrics, and telling wonderful stories about my Dad. Sometimes it feels like we are drowning in these messages, like we can’t keep up with the support and love that everyone has shown, yet in so many ways it has also been our lifeline. We have not been able to respond to everything, but we want you all to know that we feel your love, and we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for sharing it with us. Many have asked how we are doing, and where we are in the “grieving process”? The truth is, we haven’t really even started. Accepting this new “reality” is going to take a long time, and maybe we never truly will, maybe we don’t have to. Because we can still feel him here. In our hearts, in our thoughts, in the sky and mountains and snow. He made his mark, and he is here. Many have also asked about my return to skiing and racing. I have been able to train a little bit over the last few weeks. It has been a slow process, but it has been theraputic to be on the mountain. I’ve found training to be a place where I can feel closer to my dad, yet it provides enough of a distraction so that feeling of “closeness” can be separated from the pain. I am flying to Scandinavia today. I have no promises if I’ll actually be able to race when the time comes, and I don’t really even have goals. I just hope to make a few good turns. I think that would make my dad happy. If and when I do return to competition I’d ask that you continue to respect my privacy, especially as it relates to my family’s heartbreak. We are so thankful for the time we had with him—we cherish every single one of those moments—and we will keep him here in our hearts and our memories forever.”
“Olympic and World Champion @mikaelasShiffrin just announced her return to Europe. Mikaela: we’re with you,” the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team tweeted. The team also posted a press release noting Shiffrin’s return to actual racing will be a “day-to-day” decision.
This weekend’s World Cup races in Ofterschwang, Germany, were cancelled due to a lack of snow, with no makeup races scheduled.
The following weekend, Are, Sweden, will host World Cup ski races March 12-14, with the International Ski Federation (FIS) confirming snow control for those races on Tuesday. The races include a parallel slalom, giant slalom and slalom.
Shiffrin’s first World Cup win ever was on Dec. 20, 2012 in Are — a slalom. Since then she has won five more times in Sweden.
However, the World Cup Finals in Cortina, Italy, may be cancelled due to the severe coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy. FIS will make that decision on Friday.
Italy’s Federica Brignone recently passed Shiffrin for the overall lead by a margin of 153 points.
Brignone grabbed the lead from the absent three-time defending overall champion when the Italian won a combined event in Crans Montana, Switzerland. She then expanded that lead in La Thuile, Italy.
Shiffrin has not raced since late January following the death of Jeff after an accident at their home in Edwards. The two-time Olympic gold medalist and 66-time World Cup winner had a commanding lead in the overall chase at the time.