Will Mikaela Shiffrin Become America's Lindsay Vonn?

Kimberly RipleyLife

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Mikaela Shiffrin is only 18 years old, but in the Olympic world that isn't so unusual these days. The slalom specialist has her eye on a gold medal in Sochi next month, and with Lindsay Vonn out of the competition, that likely ups the odds of Shiffrin attaining at least one of the medals handed out in her sport. Even Olympic veteran Picabo Street says--as per the above video clip--that with Lindsay out, all eyes will be on Mikaela Shiffrin.

Mikaela is a World Cup winner and world champion in slalom. She became very emotional singing the National Anthem following a recent World Cup slalom victory in Flachau, Austria.

"Hopefully I can sing it again in Sochi," she said in a statement to the Team USA website.

This was Shiffrin's second World Cup win in a row and marked the third for her this season alone. These feats make her a strong contender for a gold medal in Sochi, and an American favorite for fans at the games, as well as those watching back home.

Known for being very grounded, Mikaela Shiffrin hasn't let this excitement go to her head.

"If I'm a medal contender, then that just means that I'm going to try to contend for a medal," she said following her win in Austria. "(But) when my nana tells me that my ski racing is keeping her alive, I think that's more pressure than any race."

Mikaela Shiffrin made her World Cup debut days before her 16th birthday, and just weeks later was crowned the U.S. slalom champion--the youngest ever in U.S. history. All eyes will certainly be on her--they're actually are on her already--to bring some gold home to the U.S.

Making the rounds of late night talk shows before heading to Sochi, the young skier still seems unshaken by what's about to take place.

"It's really cool to be a favorite going into the Olympics," she says. "Imagine being in my position. I'm 18 and I'm going to the Olympics. It's one of my dreams come true."

Chances are, Mikaela Shiffrin's dreams have just begun--and some really big ones will likely come true.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Kimberly Ripley
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and 'Nana' to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.