Mikaela Shiffrin will return to the World Cup circuit in Sweden this weekend after spending time away following the death of her father, Jeff.
Shiffrin has been away from racing for more than a month while grieving with her mother, Eileen, and older brother, Taylor. Jeff, 65, died on Feb. 2 in an accident at the family’s home in Edwards, Colorado.
Shiffrin will try to compete, but ‘no promises’
The three-time reigning World Cup champion is flying to Sweden on Thursday to prepare for three races next week in Are, where competition begins March 12.
“Maybe it’s something to make me feel closer to him,” Shiffrin said of returning to competition, adding that she liked to think her father would somehow be watching her performance. “Maybe it helps my mom feel closer to him. If it doesn’t, then we come back home.”
The World Cup follows on March 18-22 in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, barring any cancelation over coronavirus concerns. That decision is expected Friday.
Shiffrin also shared a prepared video on her social media accounts with a photo of Jeff in the background. The video starts with her father’s favorite poem and her appreciation of those who have sent kind messages.
Shiffrin, who turns 25 on March 13, said she has found training to be a place where she can be closer to her father and that she has trained a little in previous weeks.
“I have no promises if I’ll actually be able to race when the time comes, and I don’t really even have goals,” she wrote in the caption. “I just hope to make a few good turns. I think that would make my dad happy.”
Bode Miller offered family support
Shiffrin and her mother, Eileen, received news of the accident on Feb. 1 while training in Europe, per the Times. When they arrived at the Munich airport to catch a flight to Denver, they happened to see Bode Miller, the most decorated male skier in U.S. history.
He was on their flight and without a word between them, came up to give the two a hug. Via Bill Pennington at the Times:
In the Munich airport last month, after hugging a crying Mikaela for several minutes, Miller was asked by the Shiffrins how he knew of Jeff’s accident since they had told only family and close associates. Miller, Mikaela’s ski racing hero while growing up, replied that he had not known about their loss.
“Bode said he saw us and could just tell something wasn’t right,” Eileen said. “I mean, of all people. Of all times.”
Shiffrin, a two-time Olympic champion, said she has taken hope from the meeting with Miller, who has suffered his own heartbreaking losses in recent years.
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