For a ski racer as talented and successful as Mikaela Shiffrin, the first of three scheduled downhill training runs would not be a significant event under normal circumstances, even at an Olympics.
Her trip Saturday through fog and the occasional flittering snowflakes was vital, though. Shiffrin still isn’t sure whether she’ll enter the downhill on Tuesday.
She was not pushing herself to the utmost level — no reason to, for what amounts to a practice session — and her ultimately inconsequential time of 1 minute, 34.80 seconds was ninth-fastest among all 46 starters, fifth-fastest among those who didn’t miss a gate.
“It felt strong and solid. And I was in a good position,” said Shiffrin, who had not trained, let alone raced, on downhill skis since finishing 38th in the World Cup stop at Lake Louise, Alberta, on Dec. 4. “It was never scary at any point and just a little bit of that exhilarating feeling.”