Mikaela Shiffrin thinking about adjusting future schedule to protect her back

The double Olympic champion admitted that she's been battling back problems throughout this season and said she needs to take this into account ahead of next year's Winter Olympics.

By Alessandro Poggi
Picture by getty images

Alpine skiing star Mikaela Shiffrin admitted that she has been battling back pain throughout the season.

The double Olympic champion hinted that she might adjust her schedule ahead of next year's Winter Olympics in Beijing to preserve her health and fitness.

"We're definitely going to take that into account going into next season, not only for the Olympics, but just for my longevity in my career as a whole. Because, for sure, the Olympics it's a target, but a bigger target would be to say, not only I can compete at the Olympics, but I can just compete regularly," the 26-year-old said in a virtual press conference from Lenzerheide, Switzerland, where the World Cup Finals are taking place this week.

Shiffrin missed the season opener in Soelden back in October due to a back injury and was advised to rest to be fit for the remaining of the season.

"What I found this season is that it's taken a little while longer to get my back, or body as a whole, in ski specific conditioning shape to not feel sore constantly."

"After I got things back under control with a lot of therapy and a lot of rehab, it seems like it's been quite manageable this season and I'm hoping that's going to continue. And I'm going to do everything I can to make sure I keep it under control. But there's parts of this sport that are just undeniably risky, and that's just how it goes."

"Hopefully I'll be able to manage preparation throughout the summer and be able to roll through the Olympics without having to adjust the schedule. But we might have to, and that might be something that we would play it as it comes."

Ahead of the last slalom of the season, Shiffrin is still on course to win a seventh globe in the discipline.

The American sits currently third in the standings with 575 points, behind Austria's Katharina Liensberger with 590 and leader Petra Vlhova with 612.

"It's not surprising to be in the running for another slalom globe, but it's been interesting this season because there's quite a few girls who are skiing at a very high level, just a lot faster and quicker than what I feel like we've seen before," Shiffrin said.

"I've definitely been pushing my limits and trying to basically catch up as fast as possible.

"So it's pretty exciting. But I'm also trying not to let that get in my head and change my focus because I really I just want to end the season with two strong races and good skiing and see where that puts me."

The six-time world gold medallist also revealed how she struggled to showcase her training pace during the races:

"Sometimes I wonder if I go as fast as I can in this particular section, I might not make it past this particular section. And that's maybe more of a mental thing. And the mental mental side of things is definitely taking longer to come back than even the physical side of things this year."