No disrespect to the amazing Adam Rippon or Mirai Nagasu, but Team USA’s star power was windswept a bit tonight for NBC’s prime-time, as extreme weather hit the pause button on skier Mikaela Shiffrin’s debut at the XXIII Winter Olympics.
Highly promoted for the expected-to-be-well-watched first Sunday of the PyeongChang games, Shiffrin’s women’s giant slalom was pulled from the schedule just three hours before it was set to start by Olympics officials due to dangerously cold and windy weather in the South Korean mountain town.
Who’s ready to watch @MikaelaShiffrin?
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 11, 2018
“The woman’s giant slalom has been postponed until Thursday today because of high winds and a wind chill factor of negative 30 at the start, winds gusting to 30 miles an hour, so Mikaela Shiffrin’s debut at these games will not happen until Thursday, Wednesday in the U.S., and it will be sandwiched around the Men’s Downhill, “ said a clearly chilly Dan Hicks on the slopes to fellow NBC commentator Bode Miller.
With temperatures constantly falling, the PyeongChang games are looking to be the coldest Olympics on record.
A gold medalist at Sochi four years ago, Shiffrin has already been a big part of NBC’s highly planned coverage leading up to the PyeongChang games. Plus, the skier and her mother had a sit-down interview with Katie Couric that aired on February 9. Additionally, Shiffrin received a lot of attention and much patter on social media about her absence from Friday’s Opening Ceremony.
It was so fun chatting with the incredible @mikaelashiffrin and her wonderful Mom Eileen. You can catch our interview tonight on @NBC! #winterolympics #openingceremony #pyeongchang2018 @nbcolympics @nbcsports pic.twitter.com/QlAokKXrJS
— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) February 10, 2018
The change in schedule due to the weather means that Shiffrin’s 2018 PyeongChang premiere will now be on February 14 in the slalom, for which she is the defending Olympic champion.
“I think it is tough physically and probably a little bit mentally to have back-to-back races,” said past gold medal skier Miller to Hicks on-air about the past Gold medalist now having to do the Slalom and the Giant Slalom on consecutive days. “But the reality is Mikaela is the best racer out here.”
While NBC will have to shift a few things around Sunday and later this week on what is already a blockbuster filled prime-time tonight of team figure skating, luge, women’s slopestyle and more, the fact is weather is often an Olympics wild card. The men’s downhill was shifted to Valentine’s Day from this weekend because of the conditions in PyeongChang.
And with all that, let’s not forget Nagasu made some history tonight as the first American female to land the triple axel at the Olympics and the third-ever among all nations. That’s a winner all around!