Mikaela Shiffrin avoided serious injury Friday when she crashed into the safety nets during a World Cup downhill run on the course that will also host the 2026 Milan-Cortina Olympics.
Shiffrin, the winningest World Cup Alpine ski racer of all time, lost control as she attempted to land a jump 17 seconds into her race in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.
“She’s positive and in a certain way relieved,” U.S. team coach Paul Kristofic told The Associated Press. “Because it could have been worse. But she’s pretty sore, as you are for most speed crashes. But she was quite upbeat about things.”
One of the 28-year-old’s skis detached during the high-speed crash, and she was slow to get up. A group of people were seen assisting Shiffrin, leading her to use her ski poles as crutches and leave the area without putting weight on her left leg. She was taken away by a medical helicopter, per Olympics.com.
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard team quickly released a statement about her condition, confirming that she was taken to a clinic in Cortina. “Initial analysis shows the ACL and PCL seem intact,” the team said.
In a follow-up, the U.S. team said Shiffrin was sending encouraging messages to her teammates. “It’s all OK ladies, surface is money, you got this!” she wrote.
Once all results from the day were in, Shiffrin thanked fans for the support and relished the success of Team USA.
Thank you all for your support 🙏❤️
(But oh my god…looking at the results for our team makes me smile so much!!👏) https://t.co/NX9qBVS8uK
— Mikaela Shiffrin (@MikaelaShiffrin) January 26, 2024
Three Americans finished in the top 20 of Friday’s competition: Jacqueline Wiles (13th), Lauren Macuga (16th) and Isabella Wright (18th).
Of 52 starters, 12 didn’t finish. Austrian skier Stephanie Venier was able to master the terrain for the win, finishing 0.39 seconds ahead of Lara Gut-Behrami. Venier was 0.71 seconds ahead of the three skiers who tied for third, leading to a five-person podium. Valerie Grenier, Christina Ager and local favorite Sofia Goggia were the bronze finishers.
Shiffrin’s collision was quickly followed by another one, as former overall champion Federica Brignone took a smaller crash when events resumed. She was quicker to get up and went on to ski down on her own power.
“I’m OK, although I have a few bruises here and there,” Brignone said, adding that the course was mentally challenging.
Olympic champion Corinne Suter might have been injured as well. The Swiss star interrupted her run and was heard screaming after landing the same jump that caused Shiffrin problems. Suter left the course in the back of a vehicle.
Friday marked Venier’s eighth career World Cup win, while Shiffrin has a record 95 World Cup victories.
Another downhill is scheduled to take place Saturday in Cortina, followed by Sunday’s super-G. Shiffrin will sit out of both events, and it’s unclear when she’ll return.