Federica Brignone vowed to concentrate on the upcoming Alpine snowboarding season slightly than dwell on what occurred final March, when she grew to become the primary Italian lady to win a World Cup total title.
“I’ve to maintain all the pieces closed for what it was final 12 months,” she mentioned Friday. “However, for certain, feelings are nonetheless there.”
Brignone, 30, is the headliner for Saturday’s season-opening large slalom in Soelden, Austria.
Mikaela Shiffrin is absent (tweaked again). She final raced Jan. 26, when she received a super-G and elevated an total standings result in 370 factors over Brignone, a spot that appeared insurmountable.
Shiffrin’s father, Jeff, died unexpectedly every week later. The American didn’t race the remainder of the season (although she returned to Europe in March for races in Sweden that ended up canceled because of the pandemic).
In her eleventh season, Brignone began 25 of the 30 races with these stats: 20 top-10s, 11 podiums and 5 victories — all vital career-highs and worthy of the enormous crystal globe mailed to her slightly than awarded within the typical World Cup Finals presentation. Although she owns Olympic and world championships large slalom medals, her finest earlier total end was fifth.
Brignone handed Shiffrin for the general lead in February and was forward by 145 factors when Shiffrin returned to Europe earlier than the final three races had been canceled. Even when these races occurred, and Shiffrin received all of them, the Italian had an opportunity to carry her off.
Brignone plans to be busier in her twelfth season. She may begin each race this fall and winter.
Brignone made her intentions clear by placing back-to-back slaloms in Levi, Finland, on her calendar subsequent month. Slalom is her weakest self-discipline (the one one she wasn’t prime three on the planet final season). Levi is essentially the most distant of the European stops on tour, 110 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Brignone final began there in 2014.
“I simply hope to not take a look at constructive once more,” Brignone mentioned, “and to race each single race.”
Simply earlier than beginning offseason coaching in June, Brignone was examined and discovered that she, sooner or later earlier that spring, contracted the coronavirus.
“I found I had it, however I didn’t really feel it,” she mentioned.
Brignone mentioned everyone in her household and on her staff had it. Her mother, 1980 and 1984 Olympic skier and now journalist Maria Rosa Quario, detailed her serious bout for her newspaper, Il Giornale, in early April.
Quario wrote that she started feeling signs round March 20, every week after the final World Cup races had been canceled and Brignone grew to become the general champion. She had a 103-plus-degree fever and lacked the energy to maneuver. Quario wrote that Brignone was the one who dialed emergency after an in a single day coughing assault. An ambulance took Quario to the hospital, the place she spent 5 days.
“On the finish she was OK, and he or she simply wanted assist,” Brignone, who is typically interviewed by her mother at races, mentioned Friday. “After 5 days, she was OK. I used to be not scared.”
Brignone just isn’t one for timidity. She began snowboarding as she discovered to stroll, scampering round her household’s Milan condominium on plastic skis. Although she made her first World Cup begin at age 17, Brignone stored a way of normalcy.
“I went to high school, I had buddies, I went partying,” she mentioned years in the past.
On her first World Cup journey to the U.S. in 2009, she introduced an empty suitcase and stuffed it with Christmas items from outlet shops, plus a brand new pair of Timberlands for herself. She received extra money again by ending third within the large slalom, a primary World Cup podium (in simply her fifth begin) that motivated her to take snowboarding extra significantly.
A decade later, NBC Sports activities analyst Steve Porino was fascinated by Brignone’s skill to remain contemporary from starting to finish final season along with her finest snowboarding throughout disciplines.
Brignone’s breadth and busy schedule recall to mind what Tina Maze achieved in 2012-13, racing all 35 occasions and shattering the World Cup factors report. On the finish, Maze warned an 18-year-old Shiffrin to not strive it due to the exhaustion.
Brignone could also be a unique breed. “Her mother talks quite a bit about the truth that she’s tremendous hyperactive, exuberant,” Porino mentioned.
Shiffrin has her personal vitality however is also called calculated. So targeted that she has thrown up earlier than races on account of nervousness and so devoted to relaxation and restoration that she has napped between runs.
If each Brignone and Shiffrin are at their finest, they may duel for the general title this season. Brignone referred to as Shiffrin the best skier of all time on Friday.
“She’s at all times targeted. She’s at all times concentrating. She is aware of what she needs,” Brignone mentioned. “I by no means had the chance to have a dinner or to have time [other than] snowboarding along with her. So I don’t know her with out skis, however she’s type. She’s an important athlete. She’s an instance for everyone.”
NBC Olympic analysis contributed to this report.
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