Mikaela Shiffrin, the Olympic skier wunderkind who came and dominated the slopes at the 2014 Olympics has been dealt a challenging hand since we saw her last. She lost her father unexpectedly in 2020.
And in December, just months before she was to leave for the games, she contracted COVID-19. But she’s not letting any of that stop her.
Now 26, Mikaela is heading into the 2022 Winter Games more determined than ever. Here's everything you need to know about the skier's supportive family.
Mikaela has won two gold medals.
Mikaela is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, who wowed fans when she became the youngest-ever U.S. alpine skier to win gold. On top of that, she was the first American woman to win a slalom medal of any kind since Barbara Cochran won gold at the 1972 Sapporo Olympics. (This is not the fearsome blonde Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank fame if anyone else was confused).
This year she is poised to compete in five events: the slalom, giant slalom, super-G, downhill, and alpine.
She lives in a truly otherworldly, gorgeous home in Colorado complete with a closet that would have Carrie Bradshaw QUAKING.
Her parents fell in love on the slopes.
I mean....does it get any cuter!?
Mikaela’s parents Jeff and Eileen met while both working at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton, Massachusetts. He was a 31-year-old physician who was completing his cardiothoracic rotation and she was a 25-year-old ICU nurse.
While Eileen has always enjoyed skiing, she had sort of dropped it in adulthood. But Jeff got her back on her skis when he took her on a date to Killington, and then later when they took their first vacation to Aspen as a couple.
“If it wasn’t for Jeff, I wouldn’t have kept skiing,” Eileen told The Aspen Sojourner. “He brought back my love of the sport.” The pair got married in 1986 and moved to Vail five years later.
Her parents taught her and her brother how to ski.
So it’s not surprising that Eileen and Jeff raised both of their children, Mikaela and her brother Taylor, who is 2 and a half years older, to enjoy the mountain.
“We just had so much fun skiing with them,” Eileen told The Aspen Sojourner. “But people are always trying to model their program after how we did it. Stop right there! Parents need to calm down and enjoy the process when their kids are little, whatever the sport.”
Mikaela's dad passed away in 2020.
Eileen and Jeff have been supporting Mikaela on the slopes since she could barely stand on her skis and was in kindergarten. It's hard to imagine when you watch her now.
But this will be Eileen’s first Olympic games as a single parent. The loss of her husband of 34 years “was like getting a torpedo in the head and gut, over and over, for months on end,” she told the same publication.
“We learned quickly that people have their crosses to bear, and they aren’t everyone else’s crosses; they’re the ones we have to bear ourselves. You learn to suffer in silence.”
Jeff died on February 2, 2020, of a head injury after he fell.
She recently recovered from COVID-19.
Mikaela, who is vaccinated and boosted, tested positive for the coronavirus just two days after Christmas 2021. During what was supposed to be heightened training time, she was locked inside.
She was quarantined for more than a week and was told by doctors not to go outside or raise her heart or breathing rate through exercise. Nevertheless, Mikaela persisted. She got back on the skis and into training for what may be the most important few weeks of her athletic career.
She has a pretty ~interesting~ hype song.
During an interview with NBC, Mikaela said she doesn’t really have a particular routine before she heads down the slopes. Well, except for one thing.
“I don't have a specific routine. Sometimes I have a song stuck in my head. For a lot of last seasons, it was that children's song "On Top of Spaghetti."
This song is a banger, and I will be adding it to my workout playlist.
Her workout routine is intense
I mean, she is an Olympian after all. But for the rest of us plebs, Mikaela posts her workouts to IG to stir a little fitspo, if you will.
In one video, she shows a truly wild routine that I am afraid to try. She does planks with her feet strapped into TRX bands, one-legged inverted crunches with her foot on a medicine ball, one-legged squat jumps over kettlebells, and one-legged speed jumps over a battle rope.
Then she takes things outside, where she tosses a medicine ball unreasonably high, and then walks back inside for wall slams. Then, she did weighted squat jumps, weighted side planks, weighted one-legged box jumps, and a series of arm exercises.
Mikaela told Sports Illustrated she tries to eat healthy, mostly eating lean protein, salad, and lots of veggies. However, she is a big fan of the carbo-load, especially with a big old bowl of pasta.
“I feel a lot more energy in every way for the race,” she said. “That’s a theory I believe in.”
She even told Good Housekeeping that pasta is her “superfood.”
Same, Mikaela, same. GO USA!
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