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Alpine Skiing 101: Since PyeongChang

Alpine Skiing 101: Since PyeongChang
Posted at 9:54 AM, Oct 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-28 12:00:08-04

Who’s Back

Mikaela Shiffrin: The biggest star in Alpine skiing today is full steam ahead to her third Olympic Games, looking to become the most decorated American ski racer in history. Shiffrin is 26 and a threat to win a medal any time she straps on her skis; she took home hardware in four separate disciplines at the 2021 World Championships, including gold in the women’s combined event. She got her 2021-22 World Cup season off to a fast start in October, taking the giant slalom opener in Soelden, Austria, by 0.14.

SEE MORE: Mikaela Shiffrin takes World Cup opener by just .14

Matthias Mayer: The Austrian heads to his third Olympics with sights on becoming just the second-ever man to win Alpine skiing gold at back-to-back-to-back Games. At 31, Mayer is still very much in top form. In fact, his best World Cup finishes – 4th overall in 2020 and 2nd in the downhill discipline in 2021 – have both come since his PyeongChang super-G gold. Mayer will face longtime rivals Beat Feuz and Vincent Kriechmayr in the speed events.

Ester Ledecka: The Czech speed queen shocked two sports in 2018 when she doubled up with gold in the Alpine skiing women’s super-G and the snowboarding parallel women’s giant slalom. Could she possibly repeat that feat in 2022? She certainly cannot be counted out. Since PyeonChang Ledecka has maintained her status as the world’s best women’s parallel snowboard racer and, in 2020, enjoyed her best World Cup season as an Alpine skier, finishing on the overall podium in both the downhill and combined events.

SEE MORE: PyeongChang 2018: Ester Ledecka wins shocking super-G gold

Who’s Gone

Lindsey Vonn: The face of Alpine skiing for most of the 21st century raced her final competition at the 2019 World Championship, closing out a legendary career with downhill bronze at age 34 (the oldest female World Championship medalist ever). As impressive as Vonn’s Olympic accolades are with one gold and two bronze medals, her remarkable consistency on the World Cup circuit from 2008-2012, during which she won a nearly unprecedented four overall season titles, makes her without questions one of the greatest ski racers ever.

Ted Ligety: Two-time Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety retired from international competition earlier this year at age 36. He leaves behind a legacy as one of the greatest Americans in Alpine skiing history and one of the best giant slalom skiers ever of any nationality. Five times the Utah native was crowned World Cup season champion in GS, racking up 24 race wins in the process.

Marcel Hirscher: For eight years between 2012 and 2019, Austria’s Marcel Hirscher held a grip on the sport of Alpine skiing not seen before or since, winning the overall men’s World Cup title for eight consecutive seasons. In PyeonChang, Hirscher ended an Olympic gold medal drought by winning both the giant slalom and combined events. He announced his retirement in September of 2019 at the age of 30.

SEE MORE: PyeongChang 2018: Marcel Hirscher wins giant slalom gold

New Faces

River Radamus: At 23 years old, two-time junior world champion River Radamus is on target to represent Team USA at his first Winter Olympics in 2022. The Colorado native looks primed for a breakout season, having captured his best career World Cup finish with 6th place in the giant slalom season opener in Austria in October.

Lucas Braathen: In October 2020, Norway’s Lucas Braathen became the first athlete born in the new millennium to win a World Cup event. In a sport which typically requires years on international experience to consistently fight for podiums, Braathen will hope to buck the trend as a 21-year-old in 2022.