"In the back of my mind I'm like: 'She's 18, if anyone's going to
choke it's her'," Street, who won Olympic silver for the United
States in the downhill in 1994 and gold in the Super G four years
later, told Reuters in an interview at the Sochi Games on Saturday.
"But knowing her, knowing the personality she has, knowing the
approach she has to her skiing, she's going to stay under the radar,
she's going to be just Mikaela rolling, doing her thing."
Shiffrin captured the slalom world championship in 2013 and leads
the World Cup standings with three wins this season, although she
slipped to seventh place in her last race at Kranjska Gora in
Slovenia at the start of the month. She has a long wait to compete
in Sochi, with the giant slalom on February 18 and the slalom on
"We're going to know a whole lot about how Mikaela's slalom's going
to be by how she does in the GS. And if she pops even just a strong,
like let's say top eight in the GS ... LOOK OUT in the slalom," said
Street, slowing her avalanche-style delivery for emphasis.
"So my money's on Mikaela," said the former racer with the
distinctive name, which she famously picked herself at the age of
Now 42, she is working as a TV analyst, but the passion is clearly
still there. She seems to be living each twist and turn as she
watches a series of tumbles in men's downhill training, from the
foot of the Rosa Khutor course above Sochi.
[to top of second column]
"The shadows on this course are hairy. This course is the real deal.
It's as radical as it gets," she said, moments after watching
American Marco Sullivan lose control and narrowly escape a serious
She believes confidence will be the key to the men's race tomorrow,
in which U.S. veteran Bode Miller and Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal
will start among the favourites.
"When you can't see where you're going and you've got drops and
shadows, you have to be confident in yourself, you've got to ski in
the front seat and you have to start your turns on the tip where you
know they're going to work for you...You can't make dumb mistakes."
Street reckons that 'realistically' the U.S. men's team, which also
includes triple world champion Ted Ligety, looks like capturing more
medals than the women's, "but if everyone skied the way they could,
it could be even-steven."
"That's the thing that I really like about the Olympics, it's
watching people do what they're capable of doing on this stage. I
liked pulling that off myself and I like watching them do it too."
(Editing by Ed Osmond)
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