BEIJING, China — Mikaela Shiffrin raced in Tuesday’s downhill, her fourth event at the Beijing Games and the first time she’s competed in that discipline in her Olympic career.
Shiffrin successfully made it through the course, but was well off the medal podium and finished in 18th.
After the race, she described it as "super fun" and said she felt strong in her skiing and felt it was another day of really good experience on the longer skis that are used in downhill events.
The two-time gold medalist in Alpine skiing did not finish her opening runs in either of her first two events, the two-leg giant slalom and slalom. She then finished ninth in the super-G, another race she hadn’t previously entered at an Olympics.
Shiffrin will next turn her attention to the Alpine skiing combined event and the team event.
"I think I have a shot and that's really nice," Shiffrin said about the combined event.
Prior to Tuesday's event, Shiffrin acknowledged that she's "not focusing on the medal anymore."
"It’s just trying to do my best execution every day. Anyway, that’s my best shot at a medal. So it’s a little bit of maybe a paradox ... that your best chance to have that performance is to stop thinking about the performance and to focus on what you’re doing in that moment,” the 26-year-old Shiffrin said. “So I’m just trying to be present in the moment, especially with the downhill.”
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team noted on Twitter that the last time Shiffrin was on downhill skis before Tuesday's race was in early December.
As someone who specialized in the technical disciplines of slalom and giant slalom, the speed events of downhill and super-G are still new and works-in-progress for Shiffrin. She has 47 World Cup victories in slalom — more than any other person in any race — and 14 in giant slalom, with four in super-G and two in downhill.
What is the difference between Super G and downhill?
This event is all about speed -- get down the course in the fastest time possible.
While there are gates on the outside, they mainly serve as markers to identify the course route. Skiers work to steer clear of touching them since it making contact would slow them down. That's different from slalom and giant slalom when skiers are focusing more on making tight turns around the gates and, as a result, hit them regularly.
Super-G means super giant slalom. It combines the speed of downhill but the technical turning necessary of the giant slalom. The course winds more than the downhill course, but the gates are spaced out more so that the skiers can pick up speed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.