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"Beyond shocking": U.S. skiing legend Mikaela Shiffrin disqualified from her two best events

Team USA wins first gold medal at Winter Olympics
Team USA wins first gold medal at Winter Olympics 01:59

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin had yet another shocking disappointment at the Beijing Olympics, bowing out early from her second straight-race on Wednesday.

Shiffrin missed the fourth gate in the slalom event, disqualifying her from the race. After the mistake, the 26-year-old skied off to the side of the course and sat down in the snow for an extended period of time.

Beijing Olympics Alpine Skiing
Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States sits on the side of the course after skiing out in the first run of the women's slalom at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing on February 9, 2022. Robert F. Bukaty / AP

"I was pushing out of the start. I had full intentions of skiing as hard as I could," she said following the race. "I slipped up a little bit on one turn and I just didn't give myself room to make any kind of error like that. I was planning to go on the most aggressive line, the most challenging line to ski."  

Speaking on camera after the race, the 26-year-old said she was still processing "pretty much everything."

"Makes me second-guess the last 15 years," she said. "Everything I thought I knew about my own skiing and slalom and racing mentality. Just processing a lot."

Announcers and anchors on NBC pulled no punches in characterizing what had transpired, with comments like, "Her nightmare in Beijing continues."

"To make a mistake like that is just beyond belief." 

"It ended before it even started."

"You wait four years and your dream can be over within seconds." 

On Monday, Shiffrin also crashed out early in her first event, the giant slalom. 

After winning gold in the slalom at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi and gold in the giant slalom at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, Shiffrin was considered the favorite to win both events in Beijing. After she was eliminated mere seconds into both races, announcers deemed the unexpected turn of events "near the top of the list for all-time Olympic disappointments."

"I won't ever get over this," Shiffrin said after the first mistake. "I've never gotten over any."

The decorated Shiffrin owns three Olympic medals, three World Cup overall titles and six world championships. She still has three events to go in Beijing, and one more Olympic gold medal would give her the most for any American alpine skier.

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