Three-time World Cup champion Mikaela Shiffrin has confirmed that she has pulled out of the opening weekend at Soelden due to a back injury.
Shiffrin was in Europe and was expected to compete in Austria but on Friday posted messages across her social media channels that confirmed she would not.
"As most of you probably know (if you don’t then mark your calendars now!) the @fisalpine World Cup opener at Soelden is just over one week from today 🥳🥳... but much to my disappointment, I will not be able to start this year🤦♀️." Shiffrin wrote on Instagram.
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"After tweaking my back skiing last week, I have been advised to sit Soelden out to let my back heal so I can race the rest of the season. Having started in Soelden for the last eight years straight, this feels...really frustrating and strange (for lack of better words). Luckily, this injury will heal and I will be back in the start soon... (and I can’t wait😏).
"While this is a bummer to not be racing myself, I am super psyched to watch my teammates compete. They are looking strong, fast, and fired up 🤟🤟. I’ll be cheering as loud as I can for our US women and men next weekend and I hope you will be too!
"I want to thank everyone, from my sponsors to the media, to the fans, the @usskiteam staff and my teammates, and especially my hometown community, family and friends, for your support in this whole process and for helping me get back out there doing the sport I love.
Shiffrin: If I was only motivated by results, I'd have stopped a while ago
"YA’LL... this is HAPPENING. With all the uncertainty throughout this year, we are only ONE WEEK (and a day) away from the start of the World Cup season and that is something to be really excited about🥳🥳. Okay, maybe my countdown has been delayed, but the big countdown is ON and I can’t wait for it to start. I’m wishing the best to everyone racing in Soelden, and I’ll see you all soon👍👍."
Shiffrin has had back issues in the past although they have never caused her to miss a World Cup race.
She has not raced since January 26, where she picked up her 66th World Cup win in Bulgaria.
In a press release US Ski and Snowboard confirmed that "Mikaela will plan to head back to the States to rest and recover, and her return to competition is TBD,"
After Soelden the next race isn't until November 13 at Lech/Zurs in the parallel before a slalom double header at Levi November 21-22.
Shiffrin spoke to the media earlier in the week and she seemed in good spirits, if a little reflective (more on that soon) and there was no mention of a niggle.
However it must be serious if she is missing a race and it wouldn't be a surprise if her return came at Levi or even St Moritz, it will depend on how things develop over the next month.
Soelden can always be a bit strange because it's so far ahead of the rest of the calendar so missing it shouldn't leave Shiffrin too far behind her rivals.