After losing her father Jeff Shiffrin in February, a period of reflection during the coronavirus lockdown with her family has left the American wondering if being away from home during the season is still worth the reward.
“I used to worry about winning ski races, and maybe I will again,” Shiffrin, who also has three overall World Cup titles to her name, revealed in a conference call reported by AP.
“But then my nana died (in October 2019), and I still worried about winning ski races. And then my dad died, and I just gave up ski racing altogether and thought I wouldn’t come back at all.”
Six months in Europe for Shiffrin
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a predictably sizable impact on the winter sports calendar.
The USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation and their luge counterparts recently declared that American athletes will miss the first half of the season, as it is in Europe.
Given that the North American legs of the alpine skiing season have already been cancelled, the whole six-month season will now take place in Europe, excluding a further two months in the summer period.
Shiffrin hasn’t voiced her desire to quit skiing just yet, due to the passion she still has for the sport, but it's uncertain whether she'll compete in every event on tour.
“In a way it was a consideration, but I wasn’t thinking: OK, I am going to quit now,” the 25-year-old continued.
“I have so much passion and I want to do this, and here I am, and I’m doing it, but it also takes me away from the people that I love." - Mikaela Shiffrin
“I don’t think my dad would want me to stop for him. But it is also hard to know that because he can’t be here to tell me. Those are the things that I struggle with: How long will it be worth the travel, being away from home, all of those things.”
Shiffrin arrived in Europe last week, ahead of the opening event of the alpine skiing season on 17 October in Soelden, Austria.
However, a slight back tweak suffered in training means that she will miss the event.
Shiffrin's stunning Olympic record
After making her World Cup debut at just 15-years-old, Shiffrin became the youngest slalom champion in Olympic alpine skiing history when she took gold at Sochi 2014 aged just 18 years and 345 days.
Four years later she won the giant slalom at PyeongChang 2018 to become her nation’s joint most successful alpine skier ever with Ted Ligety and Andrea Mead Lawrence, before adding silver in the combined event too.
She is the only athlete to have ever won all six Alpine Ski World Cup disciplines, and at 23 years and 9 months became the youngest skier to rack up 50 World Cup wins.