United States' Mikaela Shiffrin stands on the podium after winning an alpine ski, women's World Cup super-G, in Bansko, Bulgaria, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)

Mikaela Shiffrin set for World Cup return after 6-week break

March 11, 2020 - 5:22 am

ARE, Sweden (AP) — Mikaela Shiffrin will return to World Cup racing this week, ending a break from the sport of more than six weeks following the death of her father.

The three-time overall champion said Wednesday that she plans to start in a parallel giant slalom on Thursday, and a giant slalom and a slalom the following two days.

Those will be the last women’s World Cup races of the season. The finals in Cortina d’Ampezzo have been canceled because of the virus outbreak in northern Italy.

Shiffrin posted on her social media channels that Are “has held a special place in my heart, and it feels like the right place to rejoin my World Cup family and try to race again.”

Shiffrin has not competed since winning a super-G in Bansko, Bulgaria, on Jan. 26. She skipped speed events in Sochi a week later and returned to her family home in Vail that weekend to be at the hospital with her father, Jeff, who died on Feb. 2.

“I have some wonderful memories with my Dad here during the World Cup Finals and World Champs, so I’ve been looking forward to returning for these races,” Shiffrin said.

The American got her first career win at the Swedish resort in 2012 and won a record fourth straight slalom world title in Are in 2019.

During her 45-day absence, Shiffrin has lost her lead in the overall standings to Federica Brignone of Italy, who is 153 points ahead with three races remaining. A race win is worth 100 points.

In her strongest slalom discipline, Petra Vlhova of Slovakia now has a small 20-point lead.

“I still have no real goals or expectations. I just would like to try and race again before the end of the season,” the American said.

Shiffrin, who turns 25 on Friday, said she would appreciate people continuing to respect her need for space and privacy.

“The heartbreak remains — for this reason, and also due to concerns about the Coronavirus, I ask that you be accepting of my decision to limit my interactions with the media, fans, and competitors,” Shiffrin said.

“This means no selfies, autographs, hugs, high fives, handshakes or kiss greetings, and limited interviews if any,” she added. “I think it is the best way to not only protect myself but also the responsible thing to do for everyone.”

Shiffrin traveled to Scandinavia a week ago to resume training, but initially wasn’t sure whether she was going to race.

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