Mikaela Shiffrin looked tired. She wasn’t arcing as smoothly in this, her last race of the season; she wasn’t fighting as much. The fact that even that performance at Aspen on Sunday still put her in sixth—one many athletes on the World Cup circuit would love to have, yet considered a lackluster one for Shiffrin these days—says it all.
When you’re Mikaela Shiffrin and the best female racer in the world, three things happen. First, everyone expects you to keep winning. Second, by the time of your 28th race of the season—more than half of which ended atop podiums—you’re pretty exhausted. Third, when you’ve clinched becoming the second-youngest overall World Cup champion in history, exhaustion can look a lot like a victory lap.