(Reuters) – Double Olympic gold medalist and overall World Cup champion Mikaela Shiffrin is set to return to competitive action in Sweden this week after taking more than a month out following the death of her father.
The American, who turns 25 on Friday, said on social media that Are “feels like the right place to rejoin my World Cup family and try to race again”.
The Swedish resort is due to host the final three races of the World Cup season this week — a parallel giant slalom on Thursday followed by a giant slalom on Friday and slalom on Saturday.
The World Cup finals scheduled for the Italian resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo have been canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Shiffrin, whose father Jeff died in an accident at home in Colorado on Feb. 2 aged 65, is 153 points behind Italian Federica Brignone in the overall standings with 300 points still to be won.
“I have some wonderful memories with my dad here during the World Cup finals and world champs, so I’ve been looking forward to returning for these races,” the three-times overall World Cup winner said on Instagram.
“I still have no real goals or expectations. I just would like to try and race again before the end of the season.”
Shiffrin said she would need space and privacy, with the coronavirus also a concern.
“The heartbreak remains — for this reason, and also due to concerns about the coronavirus, I ask that you be accepting of my decision to limit my interactions with the media, fans and competitors,” she said.
“This means no selfies, autographs, hugs, high fives, handshakes or kiss greetings, and limited interviews if any… I think it is the best way to not only protect myself but also the responsible thing to do for everyone.”
Last December Shiffrin equaled compatriot Lindsey Vonn’s record for the most women’s World Cup victories in one discipline after winning the 43rd slalom of her career in Lienz, Austria.
Shiffrin is on 66 World Cup wins overall, closing in on Vonn’s all-time women’s record of 82.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by Ken Ferris