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Up & Comers: Mikaela Shiffrin, 18


the wunderkind

Résumé: Winner 2013 World Cup Slalom title—at just 17 years old. This season: World Cup slalom gold and GS silver.

Mikeala Shiffrin has been called the next Lindsey Vonn—an obvious comparison for the lay ski media because she’s blonde, gorgeous, and fast. But it’s not a particularly accurate comparison in skiing terms. For starters, Shiffrin is a technical specialist, stronger in slalom and GS than the speed events of downhill and super-G. Also, unlike the immoderate Vonn, who redlines every run, Shiffrin skis with the fluid composure and wild angulation of Ted Ligety. And like that Kung Fu master, she’s devoted countless hours to training. “She applied herself to doing drills more than anyone else I’ve coached,” says Burke Mountain Academy’s Kirk Dwyer, who’s trained the likes of Daron Rahlves. The meticulous practice is paying off: Since 2011, she’s rocketed to the top of skiing’s ranks. In fact, she’s so fast she outpaced her self-confidence. “I might be the only one who feels like I don’t belong here,” she confessed during a celebratory dinner after her silver at Beaver Creek in December. Yet this season’s wins reassure the youngster that her big crystal globe was no beginner’s luck.

Watch For: Slalom dominance at the Sochi Games.  —Kelly Bastone | photograph by Jonathan Selkowitz

From the Winter 2014 issue.

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