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No medal for Mikaela Shiffrin in her first Olympic downhill event

She still has another shot at gold at the Beijing Games and the chance to be the first U.S. Alpine skier to win three in a career.
Image: Mikaela SHiffrin
USA's Mikaela Shiffrin competes in the womens downhill final during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at the Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Centre in Yanqing, on Feb. 15, 2022.Fabrice Coffrini / AFP - Getty Images

In her first time competing in the downhill event with an Olympic medal on the line, U.S. star skier Mikaela Shiffrin finished off the podium at the Beijing Games on Tuesday.

She skied the course with a 1:34.36 time, +2.49 behind the winner, to finish 18th out of a field of 36 in the women’s downhill.

Switzerland’s Corinne Suter won the gold with a 1:31.87 time. Italy’s Sofia Goggia, who won gold in 2018, finished second for sliver. Nadia Delago, also of Italy, won bronze.

Shiffrin was not the favorite in the downhill, but it marked her second complete race in China after two disappointing starts in which she failed to finish. The race was her fourth of the Olympics.

The 26-year-old Olympian has had two disappointing starts at the Beijing Games, skiing out and being disqualified from the giant slalom and slalom.

The two-time gold medalist had previously stood atop the podium in those events, which are her specialties.

The slalom and giant slalom are more technical. She next plans to compete in the Alpine combined, where she won a silver at the 2018 PyeongChang Games. The event includes a downhill run and a slalom run.

If Shiffrin wins gold at these Games, she will be the first U.S. Alpine skier to win three Olympic golds in the course of a career.

Shiffrin called Tuesday’s downhill “another day of really good experience on these longer skis” and said she was not taking anything for granted.

“I think I have a shot, and that’s really nice,” she told NBC’s Todd Lewis about the Alpine combined after Tuesday's race. “So, I’ll go for it, and we’ll see.”

After failing to finish in the giant slalom and slalom, Shiffrin returned to competition Friday and finished ninth in the Super-G out of a field of 44. That event was also a first for her at an Olympics, although she had medaled in it at world championships.

Shiffrin, an Alpine ski superstar with three Olympic medals and six world championship golds, has said she wants to ski in all five individual events at the Beijing Games.

This are Shiffrin's third Olympic appearance. Her first was the 2014 Sochi Games, where she won gold in the slalom. At 18, she was the youngest person to win in slalom at any Olympics.

At the 2018 PyeongChang Games, she won gold in the giant slalom and silver in the Alpine combined.