Alpine skiing-Shiffrin says his happiness isn’t about chasing Stenmark’s record

By Frank Pingue

October 20 (Reuters)Mikaela Shiffrin said on Thursday that while surpassing Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark’s World Cup winning record would undoubtedly be a career highlight, it’s not something she has to achieve to feel satisfied. every time she retires from the sport.

The 27-year-old Shiffrin, who starts her season this weekend in Sölden, Austria, is eight World Cup wins away from equaling the women’s record held by Lindsey Vonn and 12 away from equaling Stenmark’s overall mark of 86.

Shiffrin, speaking to reporters on a video call from Sölden, said her decision to retire would depend on her physical and mental ability to keep pushing rather than whether she had surpassed Stenmark’s record.

“Let’s go anytime, the end of my career, and say I hit that record, if it were to happen then, I’d probably rank it pretty high,” Shiffrin said.

“It would have meant that I was consistently at the top and successful throughout my career, through multiple generations of athletes, despite injuries, despite some very traumatic experiences.

“But let’s say, going back to where we are now, I don’t feel like I have to hit that record to feel comfortable retiring.

“I think retirement is all about how I feel when I ski. … To be honest, it could be tomorrow and I’m already comfortable with what I’ve achieved.”

Shiffrin triumphed in Soelden last season but tempered expectations ahead of Saturday’s giant slalom and, having had around 10 days of preparation since arriving in Europe, admitted feeling nervous ahead of the race.

Still, despite not having what she considered ideal preparation for Sölden, the defending overall World Cup champion will be hoping a return to familiar surroundings will give her a boost in timely.

“I struggled a bit so I don’t feel very settled in my preparation and for Saturday’s race,” Shiffrin said. “But I love Sölden and I always love racing here and hopefully some of those good feelings come out when we get to the hill.”

Shiffrin endured a disappointing Beijing Olympics this year, not winning a medal in the six events she competed in and the American made it clear at the start of her press conference that she was not interested in reliving the ‘experience.

“So far, in every interview I’ve done, someone has asked a question about the Olympics,” Shiffrin said.

“At this point, I feel like I’ve said everything I need to say about the Olympics, so we’re moving forward and focusing on this weekend.”

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)

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