PARK CITY, Utah — The Summer Olympics are less than six months away and if that’s not enough Olympic action, the Winter Olympics will land a few months after that in February 2022.
With the summer games pushed back a year due to the pandemic, the summer and winter games will happen within six months of each other. Winter athletes like Olympic Champion Mikaela Shiffrin are now one year away from the opening ceremony.
“We’re still all waiting with bated breath for the summer athletes to compete,” said Shiffrin “Then it will be rapid-fire.”
On the snow, athletes have been training and competing while working through COVID health guidelines.
For Shiffrin, the season before the Olympics hasn’t been her biggest for winning but she’s still landed on the podium four times, winning two of those in a pandemic year and after her father passed away.
“There have been a lot of really big strides and getting back to it felt like an insurmountable challenge,” said Shiffrin. “So just being here is so surreal.”
Aerial skier Justin Schoenefeld is also heading into an Olympic season with reason to be hopeful. He grabbed Team USA’s first men’s aerial World Cup in four years and is looking to improve on that in time for the games.
“Just going up in your career and performing better and better in each competition," said Schoenefeld.
All this while at Deer Valley, Utah, the world’s best skiers were able to gather for a World Cup competition at the 2021 Intermountain Healthcare Freestyle International Ski World Cup, which is also an Olympic qualifying event.
During the pandemic some wondered if the event would happen after World Cup events at Beaver Creek, Killington and Lake Louise were all canceled earlier in the year.
U.S. Ski Team President and CEO Tiger Shaw said they didn’t allow spectators and kept tough health guidelines in place.
“We think we can do it reasonably with integrity,” said Shaw. “We're going to hold a great event and we’re going to hold it safely and show the world it can be done.”
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