JASNA, Slovakia (AP) — Mikaela Shiffrin slammed Slovakian race organizers after a women’s World Cup giant slalom Sunday, calling them “unprofessional” for making her wait in the start gate before her final run for what she felt was too long.
Holding a slim lead from the opening leg, Shiffrin was ready to start when she had to wait for two minutes while course workers replaced a broken gate.
Finally allowed to go, the American posted only the 11th-fastest time and dropped to third, 0.37 behind the winner, Petra Vlhova of Slovakia.
“It took (two) minutes to fix a gate, that should take 30 seconds,” Shiffrin said. “I just felt like she is a good enough skier to win these races on her own and doesn’t need this unprofessional act from something that she doesn’t have control over, I don’t have control over, but just to say, ‘Oh, she is in the lead, let’s see if we can do something to get into (Shiffrin’s) head.’”
While Shiffrin acknowledged interruptions are a common part of the sport, she said the lengthy delay was not necessary this time.
“It’s one thing if an athlete falls and gets injured, but it’s another thing when it’s fixing a gate and that takes (two) minutes with two people and they can’t find the flag, or I don’t know what was happening,” the American said.
“It was a bit ridiculous and that’s really obvious,” she added. “This not a professional way to handle this situation (…) takes away from her performance, too. She can be proud of how she skied but that’s a tough situation.”
Shiffrin also acknowledged that she should “handle these situation better” after her delayed start got to her.
“I was OK, I was just getting mad, that’s something that I can learn from,” she said. “I still did a pretty good job on most of my run but just not quite good enough.”
By beating her rival, Vlhova turned the tables on Shiffrin a day after the American had beaten her in the slalom.
Vlhova fell on her back in celebration as soon as first-run leader Shiffrin failed to beat her time.
Vlhova got up and bent over as she fought back tears following the 19th win of her career, but first in a home race on the hill where she regularly trains.