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Mikaela Shiffrin's slalom DNF shocked the world, and sparked a discussion about the pressure she faces

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Mikaela Shiffrin skiing out of one event at the Winter Olympics was shocking enough. Doing it twice was unfathomable.

The U.S. skiing star saw another of her best chances at a gold medal in Beijing slip away on Wednesday when a missed gate in the slalom left her disqualified from the event in which she is a four-time world champion.

Shiffrin, immediately realizing what had happened, made her way off to the side and sat down in the snow, dejected. The sight of her heartbreak may end up being one of the most recognizable images of the Beijing Games, and immediately drew a wave of sympathy on social media.

That included one tweet from a fellow skier who has seen her own share of Olympic disappointment:

Above all, the immediate reaction to Shiffrin's failed run was disbelief. Less than 48 hours later, Shiffrin had crashed out of the giant slalom, the other event in which she was expected, at least hoped, to bring home gold. The slalom was a chance to get her Olympics back on track, but ended up being an even bigger nightmare.

Some were quick to note the pressure Shiffrin must have been facing, especially after the death of her father two years earlier, an event which she said nearly caused her to hang up her skis. Some also noted the parallels of her situation with Simone Biles, whose struggles amid multi-gold medal expectations was one of the stories of Tokyo half a year ago.

Biles herself later sent a message of support to Shiffrin:

There was criticism of NBC's coverage of the heartbreak as well. Shriffin spent more than 10 minutes sitting on the snow, even as other skiers competed on the course. It was difficult to watch, and NBC lingered on the story longer than many were comfortable with.

And there were, of course, some who wanted the rules bent just a little to keep Shiffrin's dreams alive.