Mikaela Shiffrin was three gates from a gold medal but lost her balance and skied out of the women's combined at the world championships Monday in Meribel, France.
Shiffrin was sixth fastest in the super-G, the first run of the combined, and was 0.96 seconds behind eventual winner Federica Brignone of Italy heading into the slalom run. She had cut so much time off Brignone's lead heading toward the bottom of the course that it appeared certain she would win her record-tying seventh world championships race.
Then, she straddled a gate and was out of medal contention, disqualified.
Wendy Holdener of Switzerland finished second and Ricarda Haaser of Austria took the bronze.
Shiffrin didn't finish three of her five races last winter at the Olympics in Beijing and went home without a medal. She has had a strong World Cup season, however, winning 11 races in 23 starts. She broke Lindsey Vonn's record of 82 World Cup wins by a woman and is one behind Sweden's Ingemar Stenmark's record 86 by all skiers.
She has achieved great success at World Championships throughout the years and also was attempting to tie the record for total medals (12). She had medaled in her past 10 races at the worlds.
After the race, an interviewer on French television asked if she had lost her focus at the end.
"People are going to say that no matter what," Shiffrin, 27, said.
"The surface changed a little bit on these last gates, so [on pre-race] inspection I saw it's a bit more unstable on the snow," she continued. "I tried to be aware of that, but I knew that if I had a chance to make up nine tenths on Federica, or more than that, like one second, I had to push like crazy. So I did, and I had a very good run. I'm really happy with my skiing."
Shiffrin is scheduled to compete in Wednesday's super-G and is considered a medal contender.
--Field Level Media