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Grace under Pressure: Mikaela Shiffrin

Olympic gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin at the Denver Bear Valley King Soopers promoting Barilla's Share the Table program.
Olympic gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin at the Denver Bear Valley King Soopers promoting Barilla's Share the Table program.
Regan Dickinson

I had the distinct honor of meeting Sochi gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin this past weekend at a Barilla Pasta event at the Denver Bear Valley King Soopers. In this case, Shiffrin was Grace under Pasta, promoting Barilla’s Share The Table program.

I like to believe that I’m not famous because I couldn’t handle the fame. Never mind that I don’t have an outstanding talent, but Shiffrin does, and she can definitely handle the fame.

Just in that little space of time at King Soopers it was apparent that Shiffrin’s easygoing attitude and humble approach will serve her well in the years to come. It’s these qualities that also contribute to her success on the slopes.

Planning is an important part of her routine, and something that even recreational skiers can use to ensure a more enjoyable day skiing.

“When I was growing up, my dad always told me to look at the hill before skiing it,” she says. However, Shiffrin says there’s a balance between inspecting the run before you ski and being too focused on it. Getting too caught up in the details of the run can create tension, which is the bane of skiers from the most advanced to beginners.

Still, she doesn’t like surprises, saying she’s most confident on smooth steeps and not as confident on varied terrain. Shiffrin adds that Burke Mountain Academy in Vermont has been instrumental in her development, and names it and Vail as her favorite mountains.

That’s quite an endorsement given that Shiffren is one of the best technical skiers in the world, as her gold medal proves. At 18, she’s the youngest competitor to win a gold in alpine skiing, and if she stays on track she’s likely to capture gold at many future Olympics, not to mention World Cup championships.

Barilla made a good call when the company enlisted Shiffren as a spokesperson. At first blush, it seems an odd pairing, pasta and skiing, but it’s really not given Barilla’s Share The Table program and the influence of Shiffren’s family in her life and career as a world-class skier.

Share The Table is promoting family mealtimes and is providing the monetary equivalent of ten meals to Feeding America for every post using the hashtag #ShareTheTabe. So, share a group shot of your family at mealtime and help support Feeding America by the end of the day today, or make a donation regardless. For more info go to

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