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Mikaela Shiffrin skips events as recovery continues

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CORTINA D'AMPEZZO, ITALY - JANUARY 25: Mikaela Shiffrin of Team United States inspects the course during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women's Downhill training on January 25, 2024 in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. (Photo by Paul Brechu/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

Mikaela Shiffrin is skipping the weekend’s giant slalom and slalom races to continue her recovery.

The all-time winningest World Cup skier, Shiffrin was injured in a crash nearly two weeks ago during a downhill event in Cortina. While she avoided major ligament damage, Shiffrin has an MCL sprain as well as a sprain of the tibiofibular ligament.

Additionally, she’s continuing to recover from a bone bruise she suffered at the beginning of the season.

There is no timetable for return, and Shiffrin is focused on rehabbing her knee. Currently she leads the overall standings by 95 points, although Lara Gut-Behrami of Switzerland could overcome that margin this weekend.

“I really want to do this right,” Shiffrin said Wednesday. “Of course, there’s a lot at stake this season and I feel that. But I also feel like the next few seasons there’s just a lot of opportunity. There’s a lot of important racing coming up in the next few seasons, and I want to be firing on all cylinders for those.

“That’s really important to me, to do this process right. And when I am able to get back to racing that I’m able to do it strong and securely and go for it.”

Shiffrin’s is one of many injuries on the World Cup circuit this season. Italian downhill racer Sofia Goggia’s season ended earlier this week after she crashed in training, breaking two bones in her right leg. Others injured include Petra Vlhova, Alexis Pinturault and Corinne Suter.

In a post on Wednesday on social media, Shiffrin addressed the number of injuries that there have been recently, and the current layout of the skiing schedule.

“Yes, this is ski racing, and yes – we choose to take the risk every time we push from the start gate. That said, the amount of injuries (especially among the top athletes) this year has been staggering,” she wrote. “A lot has been said about it, and I absolutely agree with those who have asked that we take a better look at the demands on top athletes…both from a race calendar perspective as well the schedule with evening programs.

“I absolutely believe that fatigue at this point in the season plays a role in the injuries we have seen lately, including my own.”

While Shiffrin is progressing in her recovery, she says she cannot yet withstand the forces of a slalom turn. And she’s vowed to take her recovery at a steady pace, noting that she needs “to be patient.”

“There’s a lot at stake this season, but that is also the case with any season – I am in this for the long haul and want to ensure my knee is strong and I am fully capable of powerful skiing when I return to the start gate,” she continued. “Every day, pain gets better, motion gets more solid, smooth, and consistent…we’re managing it well and always moving a little bit forward with each session.”