Move over, Lindsey Vonn—at just 18, skier Mikaela Shiffrin is generating massive buzz ahead of the 2014 Olympics in February, heading America’s strongest team in years.
America’s next teen sports phenom is on the rise and her name is Mikaela Shiffrin. She’s not a tennis player, golfer, or figure skater; she’s an alpine ski racer. Remember ski racing? Although most Americans only blink at it every four years, Shiffrin’s been making leaps in the sport in the run up to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, racking up wins on the World Cup circuit (aka the World Series of skiing) and taking titles from alpine aces 10 years her senior. In February, the then 17-year-old Shiffrin became the youngest woman in 39 years to win an alpine World Championship gold.
Now, the Vail, Colorado native is poised to make the U.S. Alpine Olympic Team and compete in her first games in Sochi next February. While Shiffrin has a good chance of winning a medal and gaining American household recognition, she modestly claims that neither are her top goals for the impending Olympics; rather, she hopes to better her skill and raise the profile of her high-adrenaline sport.