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Skier Mikaela Shiffrin tests positive less than six weeks from Beijing Winter Olympics

U.S. skier Mikaela Shiffrin in helmet and ski outfit
U.S. skier Mikaela Shiffrin has tested positive with the Beijing Games less than six weeks away.
(Giovanni Maria Pizzato / Associated Press)

Two-time Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin is the latest elite skier to test positive for the coronavirus with the Beijing Games less than six weeks away.

“I wanted to let you all know that I’m doing well, but unfortunately I had a positive COVID test,” the American wrote on her social media accounts Monday. “I’m following protocol and isolating.”

Shiffrin said she will miss World Cup giant slalom and slalom races scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, in Lienz, Austria, adding, “I’ll see you in the new year.”

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Missing the races in Lienz is a big hit to Shiffrin’s chances of regaining the overall World Cup title. She leads Italy’s Sofia Goggia by 115 points in the standings but needs to maintain a high level of points in the technical disciplines of giant slalom and slalom since Goggia has been virtually unbeatable in the speed events of downhill and super-G.

Shiffrin’s positive test comes at a particularly bad time for her with six consecutive technical races scheduled.

Beijing seemed like the right Olympic choice to most people at the time the country was awarded the 2022 Games, but claims of genocide and the strange case of Peng Shuai have led to diplomatic boycotts against China.

Other top skiers who have missed races recently after testing positive include former overall champion Lara Gut-Behrami, Austrian world champion Katharina Liensberger and Alice Robinson of New Zealand.

Maryna Gąsienica-Daniel, the Polish skier who finished sixth in two giant slaloms in Courchevel, France, last week, also announced a positive test Monday. She said on Instagram that she is “isolated at home,” and she, too, will miss the races in Lienz. Gąsienica-Daniel adds that she is “sad” but otherwise “feeling good.”

The Beijing Olympics open Feb. 4.

Shiffrin’s Olympic medal collection includes two golds — in slalom at the 2014 Sochi Games and giant slalom at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games — plus a silver in combined in 2018.

Shiffrin finished first and second in the last two races she competed in — the two giant slaloms in Courchevel.

The next women’s World Cup race after Lienz is a slalom in Zagreb, Croatia, on Jan. 4.


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