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Once again Mikaela Shiffrin of Edwards is seeing her World Cup season at least temporarily derailed by COVID-19.
But unlike 2020, when the pandemic and the death of her father ended her pursuit of a fourth straight overall World Cup title, this season it’s because she actually tested positive for the disease.
“I wanted to let you all know that I’m doing well, but unfortunately I had a positive COVID test,” Shiffrin tweeted Monday morning. “I’m following protocol and isolating, & I will miss Lienz. Best of luck to my teammates … I’ll be cheering for you. Thank you all for your support. I’ll see you in the new year.”
The current overall World Cup leader, chasing an American record-tying fourth big globe, was set to compete in giant slalom and slalom races Tuesday and Wednesday in Lienz, Austria. She’ll now have to sit out at least those two races.
Shiffrin has been dominating those disciplines with three wins so far this season in the tech events and was a heavy favorite in the Lienz races.
Other top women’s racers have tested positive this month as the omicron variant of COVID-19 surges around the globe, including Switzerland’s Lara Gut-Behrami, New Zealand’s Alice Robinson and Austria’s Katharina Liensberger.
In February of 2020, Shiffrin was dominating the circuit but left after the accidental death of her father, Jeff, at their home in Edwards. By the time she tried to return to racing, the global pandemic had ravaged the ski-racing world and other racers had overtaken her in the overall chase. Federica Brignone of Italy wound up winning the 2019-20 title.
During the 2020-21 season, Shiffrin dealt with back injury issues and learning to compete again without her father on her team as Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova claimed the overall crown.
This Olympic season, as Shiffrin was vying to join former Vail resident Lindsey Vonn as the only four-time American overall champion, it remains to be seen how the latest setback will impact her season.
Shiffrin currently leads the chase with 750 points to 635 for Italy’s Sofia Goggia, 435 for Vlhova and 342 for Brignone.
The next World Cup races after Lienz are a pair of slalom races Jan. 4-5 in Zagreb, Croatia. The Winter Olympics start a month after that in Beijing, China, where Shiffrin was hoping to compete in five disciplines and become the only American alpine ski racer with at least three gold medals after winning a gold each in Sochi (2014) and Pyeongchang (2018).