Coronavirus-related cancellation of World Cup finals could cost Mikaela Shiffrin title

Mikaela Shiffrin
(Christian Bruna / EPA-EFE / REX)

The coronavirus outbreak might just keep Mikaela Shiffrin from winning the World Cup overall title for a fourth-consecutive season.

The American skier saw her chances diminish on Friday with the cancellation of the upcoming World Cup finals in Italy.

There had been some hope of proceeding with the event in Cortina d’Ampezzo later this month, albeit without fans. But an Italian official said other countries represented on the international ski federation’s emergency council were concerned about sending athletes to the region, which has been particularly hard hit by the outbreak.

“It is with great disappointment that I accept this decision,” Flavio Roda, president of the Italian ski federation, said in a statement. “Every member of the board made their decision based on limitations that their respective governments have imposed in relation to the virus.”


Sporting events around the world have either been canceled, postponed, or played without spectators because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Shiffrin, who has dominated the women’s ski scene, recently fell to second in the overall standings because she took a leave of absence following her father’s death.

Earlier this month she announced her return to competition, but the cancellation of the finals now leaves her only one set of races — in Sweden next week — to overtake Federica Brignone of Italy.

Also on Friday, organizers of the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo took unusual precautions in testing their new venue for the sport of climbing, which is making its Olympic debut.


Normally, such test events draw fans and top athletes eager to get a preview of the course. In this case, the Tokyo 2020 committee closed the stands at Aomi Urban Sports Park and enlisted staff members to do the climbing.

“The purpose of the test is not a test for the athletes,” Toru Kobinata, a venue official, told the Japan Times. “It was a very difficult decision.”