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What does ‘ski out’ mean? Explaining why Mikaela Shiffrin was disqualified from Olympic slalom event

Olympic alpine skiing star Mikaela Shiffrin made another mistake on Tuesday night that ended her chances at winning a gold medal in the slalom event. 

Shiffrin stumbled as she took off down Xiaohaituo Mountain, and she skied out on the seventh gate of Beijing’s giant slalom course. Knowing that the error ended her chances at finishing the course, Shiffrin shuffled off to the side of the course, took off her skis and bowed her head down. She stayed there for several minutes as team members attempted to console her. 

What does ‘ski out’ mean?

There were many posts like this one on social media regarding the technical term

Simply put, it means Shiffrin fell and that fall disqualified her from finishing the rest of the course. To take it one step further for confused viewers, it means Shiffrin skis came out from underneath her.

The mistake comes about two days after Shiffrin cut an edge of her ski and fell during her first run in the giant slalom event

“I was attacking and just a small mistiming of when I set my edges and just slipped out,” Shiffrin said during NBC’s broadcast. “It’s amazing surface, it’s just amazing conditions, but you don’t have any room for some small errors or anything like that.“

I mean, it’s hard not to dwell. I’m always dwelling on these heartbreaking days, but I just can’t afford to spend or waste energy on something that’s now in the past… I’m sorry that that was the performance I did today, but that also happens. I won’t hide the disappointment, but I’m also not going to dwell on that, because that’s not going to help at all.

What’s next?

Shiffrin has four races remaining and her next shot at a medal will come in the slalom, on Wednesday. Before her fall Monday, it had been more than 30 starts since Shiffrin had skied out in a GS.

The 26-year-old Olympian was attempting to become the first alpine skier to win three Olympic gold medals in her career.  Shiffrin won her first gold medal in the slalom event during the 2014 Olympics at Sochi, then earned another in the giant slalom at the 2018 Olympics at Pyeongchang. She will still compete in the remaining events including Women’s Super-G, Women’s Downhill, Women’s Combined Downhill and Women’s Combined Slalom over the next week. 



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