11 March 2020

American skiing star Mikaela Shiffrin announces World Cup return after death of her father

Three-time overall champion Mikaela Shiffrin has announced she will return to World Cup ski racing this weekend after more than a month out break following the death of her father.

The 24-year-old has not competed since winning the super-G in Bulgaria on January 26, skipping speed events in Sohi the following week before returning to join her family in Vail to mourn her father's passing.

But she has now announced on her social media that she will compete in Sweden in the parallel slalom on Thursday as well as the giant slalom and slalom on the following two days.

These will be the final World Cup races of the season as the finals in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy have been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Shiffrin, who turns 25 on Friday, said: "One step forward... Are, Sweden has held a special place in my heart, and it feels like the right place to rejoin my World Cup family and try to race again.

"I have some wonderful memories with my Dad here during the World Cup Finals and World Champs, so I've been looking forward to returning for these races."

The American achieved her first career win at the Swedish resort in 2012 and won her record fourth consecutive slalom world title there in 2019.

"I still have no real goals or expectations," she added. "I would just like to try and race again before the end of the season. I really appreciate people continuing to respect my need for space and privacy."

During her absence, the American has been overtaken in the overall standings by Italy's Federica Brignone, who sits 153 points ahead with three races and a maximum 300 points left on offer.

However, in her strongest discipline, the slalom, she is currently trailing Petra Vlhova of Slovakia by just 20 points.

Yet while she will be looking to compete at the upcoming events, she highlighted that the hurt is still fresh and pointed to the outbreak of coronavirus as the reason for her decision not to extensively interact with fans.

"The heartbreak remains," she added. "For this reason and also due to concerns about the coronavirus, I ask that you be accepting of my decision to limit my interactions with the media, fans and competitors.

"This means no selfies, autographs, hugs, high fives, handshakes or kiss greetings, and limited interviews if any.

"This is not an easy message to share...but I think it is the best way to not only protect myself, but also the responsible thing to do for everyone."

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