Mikaela Shiffrin hospitalized after crash on 2026 Olympics course

Norah O’Donnell interviews Mikaela Shiffrin

Mikaela Shiffrin crashed into the safety nets after losing control while landing a jump during a World Cup downhill Friday on the course for the 2026 Milan-Cortina Olympics and was being checked for a possible left leg injury.

The American skier with a record 95 World Cup wins was helped off the course with her left boot raised off the snow.

“Mikaela Shiffrin was taken by ambulance to the clinic in Cortina and is being evaluated for a left leg injury. Initial analysis shows the ACL and PCL seem intact. Further details to come,” Shiffrin’s team said in a statement.

Shiffrin wrote on social media: “Thank you all for your support.”

United States’ Mikaela Shiffrin concentrates ahead of an alpine ski, women’s World Cup downhill race, in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, Jan. 26, 2024.
AP Photo/Gabriele Facciotti

Shiffrin’s arms were flailing as she landed in a patch of soft snow on the upper portion of the Olympia delle Tofane course, just before the narrow schuss — or chute — that goes through two walls of rock and is the most characteristic feature of the biggest women’s race of the season. She then slammed into the net at high speed and rebounded back onto the snow.

Medics tended to Shiffrin immediately and she eventually got up and limped away for more care.

Former overall champion Federica Brignone also crashed shortly after the race resumed following a long delay because of Shiffrin’s fall. But Brignone got right up and proceeded to ski down.

“I’m OK although I have a few bruises here and there,” Brignone said, adding that because of added terrain and rolls on the course, it was one of the toughest tests the women have faced all season.

“Actually, it was perfect,” said Brignone, who fell midway down. “We’ve just gotten used to so many easy courses like wide open highways that when you find a difficult course you’ve got to adapt. … I made a stupid mistake.”

Brignone also suggested that there are too many races on the schedule.

Immediately after Brignone’s fall, Olympic champion Corinne Suter pulled up midway down her run with an apparent injury. Suter sat and clutched her left knee.

Michelle Gisin, a two-time Olympic champion, also crashed later on but appeared to avoid serious injury.

In all, 12 of 52 starters didn’t finish the race, which was won by Stephanie Venier of Austria.

The downhill was held amid clear and sunny conditions but warm temperatures.

The Tofane course will host women’s skiing at the 2026 Games and Shiffrin won four medals in four events at the 2021 world championships in Cortina.

Shiffrin and Brignone became the fourth and fifth former overall World Cup champions to crash in the past two weeks following season-ending injuries to Alexis Pinturault, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde and Petra Vlhova.

Kilde is Shiffrin’s boyfriend and Vlhova is her biggest rival.

Shiffrin, who specializes in the technical disciplines of slalom and giant slalom, hadn’t raced a speed event since a super-G in Val d’Isere, France, more than a month ago. She also didn’t finish that race after missing a turning gate on a blind section that troubled several other athletes.

But Shiffrin won the previous downhill she entered in St. Moritz, Switzerland, in December.

Having been off the speed circuit for so long, Shiffrin also struggled in the only training session held Wednesday, noting on Instagram that she had a couple of “scary moments on the course.”

A second training session scheduled for Thursday was canceled due to strong winds.

Still, almost immediately after her crash, Shiffrin took time to write a message to her U.S. teammates that were still to race. “It’s all ok ladies, surface is money, you got this!” Shiffrin said on the squad’s WhatsApp group.

Marta Bassino, an Italian skier who finished 11th, grew nervous when she saw Shiffrin lying in the nets while riding the chairlift up to the start.

“It left quite an impact on me because she was in the nets and wasn’t moving,” Bassino said. “But then she got up and that was a big relief.”

There was also a sense of relief in the packed finish area when Shiffrin got up, as the crowd let out a collective sigh.

“60 Minutes Sports” met Shiffrin in 2014, a month before she won her first gold medal in the Sochi Olympics. Correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi traveled to the Burke Mountain Academy in East Burke, Vermont, the ski school that made Shiffrin the racer she is today. 

In May, “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Norah O’Donnell talked with Shiffrin about breaking world records, managing grief after the sudden loss of her father, and inspiring the next generation of skiers. Watch that interview at the top of this story.


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  • Skiing
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