FABRICE COFFRINI/Getty Images
Shiffrin was originally set to get her Olympics underway in the women’s giant slalom on Sunday (in U.S. time). However, inclement weather, which has already forced numerous delays in the skiing and snowboarding events, led International Ski Federation officials to postpone the giant slalom until Wednesday (Thursday morning in Pyeongchang).
“It’s a bummer that we’re not able to race today,” Shiffrin said of the delay, per the Washington Post‘s Barry Svrluga. “But with the training block I’ve had, I’m prepared and feeling good. I’ll use this time to continue to train and refocus on Wednesday’s slalom race. We have a great gym and space to eat and take plenty of naps, so I’ll use this time to recharge.”
As a result, Shiffrin will begin her Olympics with the ladies’ slalom on Tuesday night. Below is the full viewing schedule for the alpine skiing events, which are subject to change depending on the conditions in Pyeongchang.
Alpine Skiing Schedule
Tuesday, Feb. 13
Slalom Run 1: 8:15 p.m. ET (NBCOlympics.com)
Slalom Run 2: 11:45 p.m. ET (NBCOlympics.com)
Wednesday, Feb. 14
Giant Slalom Run 1: 8 p.m. ET (NBCOlympics.com)
Giant Slalom Run 2: 11:45 p.m. ET (NBCOlympics.com)
Friday, Feb. 16
Super-G Final: 9 p.m. ET (NBCOlympics.com)
Saturday, Feb. 17
Downhill Training 1: 9 p.m. ET
Sunday, Feb. 18
Downhill Training 2: 9 p.m. ET (NBCOlympics.com)
Monday, Feb. 19
Downhill Training 3: 9 p.m. ET (NBCOlympics.com)
Tuesday, Feb. 20
Downhill Final: 9 p.m. ET (NBCOlympics.com)
Wednesday, Feb. 21
Alpine Combined Training 1: 9 p.m. ET
Thursday, Feb. 22
Alpine Combined Downhill: 9 p.m. ET (NBCOlympics.com)
Friday, Feb. 23
Alpine Combined Slalom: 12:30 a.m. ET (NBCOlympics.com)
Note: NBC will air portions of the alpine skiing events as part of its prime-time coverage, which begins each night at 8 p.m. ET.
The scheduling change could work to Shiffrin’s benefit.
She earned a gold medal in the slalom in Sochi, Russia, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, beating out Austrians Marlies Schild and Kathrin Zettel. She’s also a three-time gold medalist in the event at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.
By starting with the slalom, Shiffrin can build big momentum right out of the gate before she embarks on the rest of her 2018 Olympics. Of course, that can cut the other way, too. Should Shiffrin fail to medal in the slalom, she may feel more pressure to deliver in her other events.
Because the 22-year-old is so versatile, she’ll have an opportunity to make history in Pyeongchang. Three is the record number of gold medals won in alpine skiing over one Olympics. Toni Sailer was the first to do it in 1956, and Jean-Claude Killy and Janica Kostelic matched the feat in 1968 and 2002, respectively.
Shiffrin argued three gold medals is within the realm of possibility.
“I think so. I mean, ask Michael Phelps,” she said, per Bleacher Report’s Tom Weir. “I know it’s not the same thing. There are more events in swimming, but do you think it’s possible to win 23 Olympic medals in a career? I guess so.”
As good as Shiffrin is, her recent performances indicate how hard it will be to match her lofty expectations.
Only once in six FIS World Cup events did Shiffrin place first in the downhill competition. She has also never placed higher than fourth in the Super-G in eight tries in the World Cup. She did finish first in the alpine combined at a World Cup event on Feb. 26, 2017, in Switzerland.
In addition to the difficulty that comes with winning multiple skiing events, all of the weather delays have compacted what was already a tight schedule.
Shiffrin will have a break Thursday after the slalom and giant slalom, but Friday will begin what’s an eight-day stretch when she’s either competing or training. That is bound to put a serious toll on her physically and mentally.
Should she come back to the United States with three gold medals in tow, Shiffrin will have achieved legendary status in the sport.