If you haven’t heard of Olympian Mikaela Shiffrin, you soon will. The 22-year-old is poised to dominate during the 2018 Winter Olympics, participating in a variety of skiing events and having the potential to rack up a substantial medal count, one that could even result in a historic gold medal haul.
Shiffrin has the potential to become one of the most noteworthy Olympians at the Pyeongchang, South Korea hosted Winter Games over the next two weeks. She is poised to potentially best speedskater Eric Heiden’s 1980 medal haul, where he took home five individual gold medals, a number that has been considered nearly impossible to duplicate.
In 2014, Shiffrin first reached fame during the Sochi Olympics, setting a record and winning a gold medal on a slalom course at the age of 18.
Aside from slalom events, she is also highly skilled at the alpine combined, downhill, and super-G, which she will participate in this season.
While the chances of her winning gold in every event she participates in may not be high, the potential for a hat trick is certainly there.
According to Bleacher Report, only three alpine experts have previously accomplished winning three golds in a single Games, two men and one woman. In 1956, Austria’s Toni Sailer secured three golds and, in 1968, Jean-Claude Killy of France pulled it off. The one woman on the list, Croatia’s Janica Kostelic, did it in 2002.
Shiffrin believes she can pull it off, landing her solidly amongst the greats.
When discussing whether she thought she could achieve such a feat, Shiffrin said, “I think so. I mean, ask Michael Phelps.”
“I know it’s not the same thing,” she continued. “There are more events in swimming, but do you think it’s possible to win 23 Olympic medals in a career? I guess so.”
Bode Miller, another US skiing great, also thinks that Shiffrin has the potential to win big in Pyeongchang.
“I think she’s maybe the best ski racer I’ve ever seen, male or female,” said Miller. “She’s so balanced, dynamic, intense, and focused. So, for me, I think she’s got a chance in any event she skis in.”