Mikaela's gold - the claim after the storm

Mikaela's gold - the claim after the storm

Mikaela's gold - the claim after the storm

Mikaela Shiffrin overcame both delays and some of the best skiers in the world to claim her first gold medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics, winning the giant slalom.

Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates after her run in the women's giant slalom at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on February 15, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea.

She is the gold medal favorite and you can watch the women's slalom Thursday night in prime time.

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"I don't know when it was, at some point today after the first run I thought, 'I can really win this.' I just tried to hang onto that feeling", Shiffrin said. She started with a 0.37-second lead over Mowinckel, increased that to 0.87 seconds near the bottom and then wobbled on one gate, losing more than half that cushion before crossing the finish line.

Norway's Ragnhild Mowinckel won silver, 0.39 behind Shiffrin's combined time of 2:20.02. She finished with a time of 1:10.82, while Italy's Manuela Molgg was the leader at 1:10.62. At the 2014 Sochi Games, Shiffrin won the slalom - a title she will defend Friday.

In many ways, this first event was cast as one that could give her some momentum and raise expectations for the remainder of her Olympic schedule, which continues Friday with the slalom. "So to finally have the race actually happen today, I was like, 'Well, I really hope that I actually can do it when the time comes that we finally race.' And, yeah, I did", said Shiffrin, who is based in Colorado.

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The women's super-G is scheduled for Saturday, which might be one to skip instead of racing three consecutive days. "There's not as much depth in the Mexican team but it's a team full of passion, and love, and we just love the sport, and love to be here to represent this handsome country that I'm now part of". "So, second run is going to be like a new race". "There was always somebody better than me".

"I put some of my good skiing from training in there, but I also feel like I can go a little bit harder", she said. "And I'm excited to see what I can do". Shiffrin blamed a momentary lapse on doing too many downhill races before the Pyeongchang Games. Mikaela took four days off in late January before coming to PyeongChang, unheard of for her (although some of those days included travel). "Now we've been race ready for the past basically five days in a row". Yet in the glow of her gold, she instead sought perspective.

"It was my 15 seconds to let it all out", Shiffrin said, "and now I've got to focus on tomorrow". "I want to medal in multiple disciples". A gold medal is a gold medal all by itself, not the first of two or three or four.

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