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Editor’s note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Ski Federation (FIS) on Wednesday afternoon pulled the plug on the World Cup ski racing season, cancelling the women’s races in Are, Sweden, and ending Mikaela Shiffrin’s comeback bid.
Edwards’ Mikaela Shiffrin on Wednesday morning confirmed she’ll return to racing action this weekend in Are, Sweden, following a five-week-plus absence from the World Cup circuit to mourn the accidental death of her father, Jeff, in early February.
“Are has held a special place in my heart since the beginning of my career, and it feels like the right place to rejoin my World Cup family and try to race again,” Shiffrin tweeted. “That said, the heartbreak remains, so I will be limiting my interactions with the media, fans, and competitors.”
Shiffrin posted a longer message acknowledging fears over the coronavirus and imploring fans and media members to respect her space in Are, where she won her first World Cup in 2012.
The three Are races – parallel slalom (Thursday), giant slalom (Friday) and slalom (Saturday) – will mark the end of the season as the World Cup Finals slated for Cortina, Italy, later in the month have been canceled due to coronavirus, or COVID-19.
Italy has taken extraordinary measures to try to halt the spread of the virus, shutting down travel throughout most of the country.
In early February, Shiffrin, the defending three-time World Cup overall champion, held a comfortable lead in the chase for what would be an American record fourth-straight title.
She now trails Italy’s Federica Brignone by 173 points and would need a minor miracle to regain the lead.
The 66-time World Cup winner and two-time Olympic gold medalist says she has “no expectations. It’s not about globes or winning. It’s just about making ‘a few good turns’ for Jeff,” according to a tweet from the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team.