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Shiffrin to miss World Cup opener at Solden with back injury

Two-time Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin announced on Friday that a back injury had forced her to skip the alpine skiing World Cup season-opener in Solden on October 17.

“After tweaking my back skiing last week, I have been advised to sit Solden out to let my back heal so I can race the rest of the season,” she posted on social media.

Shiffrin called a premature halt to last season to mourn the death of her father.

Her run of three successive women’s World Cup alpine skiing champion titles came to an end when she finished second to Federica Brignone.

Shiffrin said it felt “frustrating and strange” to miss the giant slalom in Austria for the first time in nine seasons.

She added: “Luckily, this injury will heal and I will be back in the start soon… (and I can’t wait).”

The 25-year-old’s last competitive apppearance was in Bansko, Bulgaria, in late January.

She was atop the World Cup overall standings and en route for a fourth straight title when she left the circuit to return home to the United States following the death of her father Jeff aged 65 after an accident at home in Vail, Colorado on February 2.

Shiffrin’s intended return was thwarted when the closing races of last season were called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Her appetite and enthusiasm to get back to her day job was evident in her post on Instagram.

“With all the uncertainty throughout this year, we are only ONE WEEK (and a day) away from the start of the World Cup season and that is something to be really excited about.

“Okay, maybe my countdown has been delayed, but the big countdown is ON and I can’t wait for it to start.

“I’m wishing the best to everyone racing in Solden, and I’ll see you all soon.”

Shiffrin won gold in the slalom at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and in the giant slalom at Pyeongchang four years later where she also collected silver in the combined.

A five-time world champion, she has a total of 66 World Cup wins and is on track given her age to pass not only Lindsey Vonn’s women’s record of 82 wins but also the outright record of 86 set by the Swede Ingemar Stenmark. 

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