Colorado's Mikaela Shiffrin wins gold medal in Women's Giant Slalom

From left Norways Kjetil Jansrud silver and Norways Aksel Lund Svindal gold celebrate during the flower ceremony for the mens downhill at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Jeongseon South Korea Thursday Feb. 15 2018

Shiffrin didn't blame the medals ceremony for her first-run performance.

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea The nervous energy accumulated for Mikaela Shiffrin while she waited, waited, waited for these Olympics - the ones that so many are expecting to be HER Olympics - to finally get started. It took Shiffrin less than 45 seconds to finish her run, take the gold medal, and set off a charge amongst the thousands watching - a charge pent up over the last 25 years.

While Shiffrin may experience bouts of self-doubt, her competitors see only a composed and focused assassin on the course.

Sure was. And sure did. The problem was, she also had a race the next day.

"It's never easy but it's really nice that no matter what I do from today on, I will walk away from these Olympics with something", said Shiffrin. "Now we got the ball rolling". "Sometimes I really fall asleep, and when I wake up, it feels like a new day, and I have to figure out where I am".

As well she should be.

In Sochi, an 18-year-old Shiffrin won gold in slalom but finished fifth in GS.

Stiegler placed 36th Thursday in her first giant slalom race of 2018.

Shiffrin, who has posted 41 World Cup victories, may opt to prioritise those and skip the Super-G. "The combined, meanwhile, is an alpine biathlon of sorts, in which racers must show off their technical skill-set in the slalom and their penchant for risky downhill speeds". "You gotta try. You're here", she said with a smile.

Elite athletes are happy slaves to routine, and Shiffrin was forced to deal with waking up each morning since Monday uncertain whether to put her game face on or leave it stored in the closet. She just attacked the course and threw down a time of 1:09.20 which gave her a total of 2:20.02, and a dominant, 0.39-second win.

"She's the toughest mentally", said Federica Brignone of Italy, who won bronze in Thursday's race.

In the men's downhill, Norway won the gold and silver. Switzerland's Beat Feuz earned the bronze.

Shiffin is just the third American skier to win two Olympic gold medals. "She's so in there and she can do it better than us". France's Tessa Worley was No. 3 in the world and fared even worse, finishing in 1:12.06, behind 14 other skiers and a full 1.44 seconds behind Moelgg.

"The level of GS is off the charts right now", said Eileen, who is also one of Shiffrin's coaches.

Shiffrin has battled with nerves and has been close to vomiting before races in the past. She takes the gold!

Definitely looked refreshed in the giant slalom, with which she contends she has "a love-hate relationship" because it doesn't come as naturally as the slalom.

Skiing is in her blood: Shiffrin's father Jeff raced for Dartmouth College, and her mother raced in high school and her brother, Taylor, raced for the University of Denver.

It didn't surprise her coach, Mike Day. I'm not super-far off.

Shiffrin finished in 49.37 seconds. She covered her ski goggles with both hands, taking the moment in.

The silver came after Liu Jiayu snatched the silver medal of the women's snowboard halfpipe for China on Tuesday and became the first Chinese snowboard Olympic medalist.

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