Mikaela Shiffrin grateful she got to see her father in his final moments
On February 2, his father Jeff died suddenly from an accident while at home in Colorado. He was 65 years old.
In competition at the other end of the world at the time, the devastated skier rushed home with her mother Eileen and her brother Taylor to be by her side.
“It’s just starting to go into all the memories I had with him, the most recent memories, you know, just everything.” This is when it is probably the most difficult, or the saddest.
Tears in my eyes, Shiffrin added: “I was really grateful to have been able to see him in these last moments … He was not alike but … I could still feel him.”
“We feel closer to him here”
It is a given in the world of skiing that few families are as close as the Shiffrin. During the season, her mother is frequently seen alongside five-time world champion Shiffrin on Race Hill. Her father joined the media in the finish area, trying to capture the best photo of his daughter crossing the finish line. Another medal in tow, another souvenir for the family album.
In a video call in the main room of his house in Colorado with a sprawling backdrop of the Rocky Mountains in sight, Shiffrin said that after the pain of the previous months, being at home was important.
“My father spent a lot of time in this house and [was] part of the reason I ended up buying this house, “said Shiffrin.” He had seen it on the market and had come to check it out before I even knew it. And he said, ‘you really need to check this place.’
“We went out together on the deck together and he said,” Look at this view and you can’t imagine it? “And I thought, yes, I really can.
“We feel closer to him here. And we have pictures of him all over the house. I took small pictures that we had [of] him just over the years and blew them up and put them on the wall. ”
It was one of the most difficult periods in the life of the American star. But, in a world where everyone is in trouble, it made her appreciate what she had and still has.
“There are a lot of people going through this losing period right now,” she said. “So I kept thinking, thank God, I have my mom and my brother. They’re still here.”
“My father loved to ski”
After quitting the season and his chances of winning a fourth overall title in February, Shiffrin tried to make a comeback for the last race of the season in Are, Sweden, only to have the event canceled the day before first day of competition due to coronavirus. But neither the competition nor the victory really mattered to him.
“I might have been the only athlete on the World Cup circuit to be just as grateful to be there even without the race taking place. In many ways, it was just as successful,” he said. she declared.
“Skiing is something my whole family shares. And my father loved skiing, he loved it … I thought being in the mountains was like being close to him.”
Having not raced in three months, her longest absence from ski racing in her career, Shiffrin said that for the first time since the death of her father, she begins to imagine what it might be like to be back at the beginning.
“I guess you could say that my motivation in many ways is increasing in some way. I’m waiting for Sölden next year for the first race of the season to say:” let’s go, this is where I want be. “This is where my father wanted me to be. I’m looking forward to it … once I understand all these other things,” she said.
“I thought I was good enough to keep a perspective on what is important. But I think that has changed now. And I hope I will never take anything for granted again.”