What do you get the teenage skiing superstar who has everything? When she’s in Finland, you get her a reindeer.
As reported by the Associated Press, Mikaela Shiffrin was rewarded with a highly-prized male reindeer fawn after winning the World Cup slalom competition in Levi, Finland. Shiffrin finished a full second ahead of her closest competitor, the reigning Olympic champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch.
Shiffrin, an 18-year-old who hails from Colorado, was the big story in Levi but her reindeer nearly stole her thunder. Shiffrin beamed when the animal was presented to her and immediately named him "Rudolph" (what else?). She said that it was among the more memorable prizes she's received.
"Who wouldn't want to get a reindeer? I remember being five years old and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was my favorite song," Shiffrin told FIS' official World Cup website. "I think we will be getting along. I hope that when he gets older and trained I can go for a ride on a sledge with him."
Shiffrin was first tabbed as a potential Winter Olympics answer to Summer Games teen sensation Missy Franklin here at Prep Rally in February when she won the slalom world championship. She's adding impressive World Cup performances since then and is emerging as a potential favorite to win the slalom in Sochi.
"I'm really happy with how the day went, and I'm also really excited because it looks like there are some pretty fast girls in the back of the pack," Shiffrin told the Associated Press. "I'm excited for the Olympics for sure but there are a couple of races between now and then, so hopefully I can just keep this going."
As for Rudolph, regulations won't allow Shiffrin to take the animal back to the U.S., though she may still get a ride on the reindeer's sleigh in the future. Perhaps she'll even have a medal with her when she does.
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- Sports & Recreation