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Mikaela Shiffrin makes Pyeongchang Olympics debut with fast first run in giant slalom

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — American standout Mikaela Shiffrin turned in an electrical opening run in the Olympic giant slalom on Thursday and was sitting in second place and in prime place for a gold medal.

Shiffrin, 22, trails chief Manuela Moelgg of Italy by zero.20 seconds heading into the ultimate run later in the day at Yongpyong Alpine Center. The solar was out and the wind muted.

Finally, the ladies had been racing.

Shiffrin was simply pleased for that, given all of the postponements due to climate and robust wind. The ladies’s giant slalom was initially scheduled for Monday, however it was moved to Thursday. The slalom was speculated to be Wednesday however bought pushed to Friday.

Down the street about 30 miles (50 kilometers) in Jeongseon, the lads had been racing the Olympic downhill Thursday. That was speculated to happen Sunday.

“Oh my gosh, last night, I was like, ‘Are we ever going to race?!'” Shiffrin mentioned, laughing. “It’s really nice. And it’s fair today, which is really, really important, especially at the Olympics. The conditions are great. The weather is beautiful. And it’s a pleasure to be racing today.”

The high 30 finishers from the first run go in reverse order for the ultimate run, with their occasions mixed to find out the winner. Shiffrin might be second to final. Moelgg was the first racer on the course and completed in a blistering time of 1 minute, 10.62 seconds. Her finest end on the Olympics was 11th in the slalom on the 2010 Vancouver Games. The 34-year-old Moelgg has by no means gained a World Cup race.

Moelgg’s teammate, Federica Brignone, was in third place and stays inside placing distance, simply zero.29 seconds again. One of the favorites, Tessa Worley of France, struggled and is 1.44 seconds behind. Swiss skier Lara Gut fell on the hill and slid right into a row of photographers off to the facet. She appeared unharmed and bought again up.

On her first go by the course, Shiffrin described the snow as “chattery” in the center part, which means she — alongside with everybody else — was in for a bumpy journey.

“I still think everyone had some first-run jitters. So what you saw there from anybody, it wasn’t really a good depiction of what we can all do,” Shiffrin mentioned. “So second run is going to be like a new race. I think it’ll be really, really interesting.”

Shiffrin completed fifth in the GS on the 2014 Sochi Games. She’s the defending Olympic slalom champion.

Coming into these Winter Games, there was speak about Shiffrin probably chasing after not one or two however 5 medals. Given the compacted schedule due to all of the delays, the plan might be altered. The flip-flopping has been notably burdensome.

“It’s been a difficult few days, but it’s all about remaining positive and remaining energized and excited to get the Games going,” mentioned Mike Day, Shiffrin’s coach. “At this point, the difficult days are just motivation for actually getting to compete. We’re battling a little bit of fatigue from going up and down the gondola every day and the excitement of getting ready to race and the disappointment of not getting to race. But we’re in good shape.”

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