FEB 08, 2016
Back on track. 64 days after her serious crash in the warm-up for the GS in Are, Mikaela Shiffrin will be celebrating her much anticipated comeback to the World Cup circuit in Crans Montana. Her latest practice sessions in Colorado went pain free and left the Slalom-Queen hopeful.
“Skiing feels completely natural again!”
The MCL and plateau fracture are healed. The hairline fracture in her tibial plateau that caused some delay in the healing process has disappeared. The trust in her right knee is back after a four-day-practice session with Atomic-serviceman Kim Erlandsson. Mikaela Shiffrin is almost back to where she left off before the injury being able to reel off her practice volumes pain-free. So it’s only natural that the 20-year-old Olympic champion is standing in the start gates to return to the World Cup circuit as quickly as possible. Next Monday at the Slalom in Crans Montana Mikaela will celebrate her much anticipated comeback. The Redster-ace will have at least six more events this winter: three Slaloms and two GS. What is remarkable: In the Slalom-rankings Mikaela still sits in 8th position although she has been able to compete in only two of seven races.
How well were you prepared for a situation like this, which can always happen in professional skiing?
„It’s funny, on one hand I don’t think I was prepared at all for this injury, I never thought that I would have an injury because I have always worked as hard as I can to prevent injuries. I rarely fall when I’m skiing, if I’m scared in a situation training or racing I would tend to slow myself down before taking the risks and crash hard, and my foremost concern in the gym is to make sure that I have the strength and fitness to prevent myself from getting hurt on skis. Of course, injuries happen, like we all say it is a part of the sport. I am lucky that I hurt two of the things in my knee that can heal on their own really well. If I had hurt my ACL or meniscus and needed surgery, I think this would have been a lot more difficult for me. But I have thought about my knee like a big cut on my leg or something… I just need to give it time to heal back to 100%, but in the meantime I can do a lot to get ready for when I am 100% and back racing.“
In what kind of way are you following the current happenings in the World Cup circuit?
„I have watched every race since I have been home. Men and women. It is really cool to watch the men because they have so much intensity when they ski. It really seems like they are skiing every race like it is the last.“
What impressed you the most?
„I have been watching Henrik Kristoffersen and Marcel Hirscher closely, since they seem to be fighting for the slalom races lately. They have some really big differences in their style but when they are both skiing well they seem to be the only guys who use their skis like they are just part of their feet.“
Have you ever thought about using the injury status?
„No matter how it effects my start order, I would really regret knowing that I was 100% and ready to race and decided not to anyway. I’m a racer at heart, I belong in the starting gate.“
Will the injury have an effect on your future plans regarding speed disciplines?
„My plans for racing speed haven’t changed yet. If I had gotten hurt racing in my first SG, maybe I would think differently, but I got hurt skiing GS, a discipline I have raced all my life. That shows me that anything can happen at any time, I just need to be as prepared as I can be. But there is no reason to hold back when I am ready.“
In a comeback process how important is the trust in your equipment?
„Equipment is huge in this process, knowing that I did my homework during the prep period and that my Atomic setup is fast gives me so much more confidence to come back and get right into it. I don’t feel like I have to catch up, as far as I’m concerned, my equipment is ready, and has been waiting for me to be ready too.“