On a sunny Thursday afternoon at Yongpyong Alpine Center, one of Mikaela Shiffrin's 2018 Olympic dreams came true beneath a fire and ice rainbow.
Though spectators at ground level enjoyed noticeably mild winter temperatures, the frosty air above the finish line occasionally created arcs under which Shiffrin found her five-ringed pot of gold.
Crossing the second run finish line in 1:09.20, Shiffrin secured first place (with her first run time of 1:10.82 for total 2:20.02) as the penultimate skier of her round.
Norway's Ragnhild Mowinckel earned silver just .39 seconds behind, with a surprise bronze for Italy's Federica Brignone .46 slower than the top time.
Afterwards, she stood at the podium of her press-conference talking to journalists and reporters about the victory:
"Today I was trying really hard but I was feeling the hill, I was feeling the moutain and I was feeling my skis, and I was really letting it go as much as I could in that second run," said Shiffrin. "To win a gold medal skiing like that is really special."
Shiffrin added that calculated risks factored heavily in her victory.
"The Olympics is not about protecting the lead, it's about putting your best on the line and you can see what happens," said Shiffrin. "It was incredible to take so much risk in that second run but it's something I'm trying to do more and more with the World Cup racing."
Her gold mining will continue, despite her no longer attempting to get a record five golds at these games. Since certain events were delayed, Shiffrin took the responsible route, opting for a rest day in-between some of her best events, rather than pushing to get in everything she had previously agreed to.
"[Tonight] I'm going to try to get some rest and some food, and then there's the medal ceremony, so it's going to be a full day but I know my mentality today was really good and it's the same mentality I'll bring to tomorrow."
After Shiffrin was on the podium, another young skier went up, speaking about the gold medalist.
Mialitiana Clerc of Madagascar, a 16 year old skier, who ranked 48th out of 58 finishers, said she got started skiing in France after her adoption parents introduced her to the sport near Chamonix.
According to Clerc's online bio in the PyeongChang media guide, she lists Shiffrin as her idol and inspiration to compete, and win medals for Africa, at Beijing 2022.
So while other people are criticizing Olympic hero Mikaela Shiffrin for not pushing her body to its absolute limit, we at SnapCall want to praise her, for not only being smart and knowing herself, but for being an inspiration to the next generation in doing so, even if she didn't know it.
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