Mikaela Shiffrin sends message to sacked coach after making skiing history

The American skiing champion made the staggering call to part ways with long-time coach Mike Day.

Mikaela Shiffrin, pictured here with her silver medal at the FIS Alpine World Cup Championships in France.
Mikaela Shiffrin poses with her silver medal at the FIS Alpine World Cup Championships in France. (Photo by Giovanni Auletta/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

American skiing champion Mikaela Shiffrin has thanked former coach Mike Day after making history at the world championships just 24 hours after parting ways with her long-time mentor. Currently competing at the Alpine Skiing World Championships in France, Shiffrin announced on Wednesday that she and Day had parted ways.

“After working with Mike Day for seven seasons, I’ve decided to move forward with new leadership on my team for the next phase of my career,” Shiffrin said via the Associated Press. “I want to thank Mike and acknowledge all of his work and dedication over the last several years.”

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US Alpine director Patrick Riml told The Associated Press that Day immediately left the world championships after being informed of Shiffrin's decision. “Mikaela wants to do something different going forward. She wants a new challenge," Rimi said. "And she informed Mike and Mike decided to go home. It’s a shock for me that he took off.”

Day was coaching Shiffrin when she won a silver medal in the super-G event last week. He then accompanied her for a few days of off-site training in Orcieres before returning to Meribel with her this week.

“He left yesterday,” Riml said. "He's on the plane probably now."

According to the Washington Post, Shiffrin had been planning to move on from Day at the end of the 2023 season, but decided to let him know ahead of time so he could pursue other opportunities. But Day apparently bit the bullet and left immediately.

Day had led Shiffrin’s individual team within the US squad since July 2016. The American star's team is also led by her mother Eileen, who has coached her daughter her entire life.

Shiffrin's personal team also includes new assistant coach Mark Mitter, who will remain with her. Paul Kristofic is the head coach of the overall US women’s team.

“We've got plenty of people here to support Mikaela and provide the training and the information she needs on race day to do her job,” Riml said. "She’s got great support. ... We’ll decide together what makes the most sense moving forward.”

The US team put out their own statement, which read: "Mikaela Shiffrin will be moving forward with new coaching, and will continue to be supported closely by the Stifel US Alpine Ski Team coaches for the remainder of the season and in the future. The team thanks Mike Day for his work and great success over the last seven years."

Mikaela Shiffrin, pictured here with Mike Day in Zagreb, Croatia in 2020.
Mikaela Shiffrin with Mike Day in Zagreb, Croatia in 2020. (AP Photo/Gabriele Facciotti, File)

Mikaela Shiffrin breaks all-time skiing record

Shiffrin won her first giant slalom title on Thursday, becoming the most decorated skier in modern world Alpine skiing championships history with 13 medals. With seven of those medals being gold, Shiffrin is no stranger to making history.

But she admitted that Thursday’s run wasn’t easy given the circumstances. "My whole body went numb down there. … So much stress,” she said on France TV after the win. “I thought that maybe you just threw everything away, or maybe you’re going to go harder now."

Shiffrin sent a message to her former coach, saying: “One thing I really want to say is just, ‘Thank you,’ to Mike for seven years of - I can’t even say helping me - he’s been such an integral part of my team and being there to support me through some of the most incredible moments in my career and some of the most challenging moments of my career and also my life."

Mikaela Shiffrin, pictured here after becoming most decorated athlete in skiing world championships history.
Mikaela Shiffrin is now the most decorated athlete in skiing world championships history. Image: Getty

Last month Shiffrin tied Lindsey Vonn's women's record of 82 World Cup wins, and now has a total of 85. If she secures one more victory she will tie Ingemar Stenmark's all-time record of 86 World Cup wins.

While wins at world championships don't count toward the World Cup totals, that was the last thing on Shiffrin's mind on Thursday. Day had worked with Shiffrin for 65 of her 85 World Cup wins.

It marks the second time Shiffrin has parted ways with one of her coaches mid-season. Last year she also split with assistant coach Jeff Lackie shortly before the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

with agencies

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