With her 87th World Cup win, Mikaela Shiffrin became the most successful alpine skier in history and her sponsor Adidas marked the occasion with a video and an online article.
As for whether her endorsement deal has a stipend or bonus for breaking such a milestone, an Adidas spokesman declined to comment on the financial details of her contract on Monday.
With her record-breaking run Saturday at the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women’s Slalom in Are, Sweden, Shiffrin knocked off a record that had been in place since Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark set it in 1989. At 27, Shiffrin is about five years younger than her predecessor was in attaining the title. Given Shiffrin’s openness about the advantages of caution as a racer, the upsides of not being confident as a competitor and her dedication to off-mountain training, some sports fans are already speculating whether she could potentially achieve 100 or more World Cup wins, provided she can stay healthy.
Achieving such athletic milestones often translate to endorsement opportunities. But Shiffrin, who is known for high-intensity training, only has so much time to spare. She also has a full roster beyond Adidas that includes Barilla, Longines , Atomic, Visa, Landrover, Comcast, Stifel and Icon Pass. Her agent Kilian Albrecht said Tuesday, “We are always looking into opportunities but partnerships always come with obligations. There is only a certain amount of time for an athlete like Mikaela that she can give to sponsors. Skiing is a sport that requires hard training all year, especially if you want to be on the top in four different events, which Mikaela is. It’s even harder and very time demanding.”
That said, there is “definitely interest” in her from potential sponsors and some categories are open for exploration. “We are trying to fill one or the other, if it’s a good fit or doable.” Albrecht said without specifying which categories that might be.
Interspersed in the video that Adidas posted to commemorate her win, Shiffrin said, (while playing a piano and singing Billy Joel’s “Vienna,”) that she doesn’t really think of it as setting a record. “I just reset one.”
Snippets of her racing and training are wrapped up with “I have good days. I have bad days. I’m still me. This journey through all of the ups and downs has made me who I am.”
The celebration must have been welcome news for Adidas, which has been saddled with what to do with $1.3 billion worth of Yeezy footwear, due to its controversial split with the artist Kanye West, who is now known as Ye.
Despite being a U.S. favorite and a two-time gold medalist going into the Beijing Winter Games last year — and a sponsor’s dream with her all American looks, unrehearsed likability and musical skills — Shiffrin flamed out and left empty-handed. The emotional fallout from that disappointment as well as the unexpected death of her father Jeff in 2020 are among the setbacks that Shiffrin has overcome. After the downhill skier parted ways with her longtime coach Mike Day last month, her mother Eileen stepped into that role. She will continue to do so, when Karin Harjo starts coaching Shiffrin next season.
Shiffrin’s love of skiing also extends to her partner Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, a Norwegian alpine skier. He tweeted his congratulations right after her win last weekend with a close-up of a sunglasses-wearing Shiffrin that read, “The greatest skier (and human) of all time. You’re spectacular Mikaela!!! Congrats.” As of Monday afternoon, more than 113,600 people had viewed it. Being called the greatest skier of all time is “too simple,” since there is so much more to the sport than that and to her, Shiffrin explained. The short answer is that she loves skiing, skiing fast to be more specific, which feels like flying. “If I’m being honest, I’m not done yet. We’re not done yet.”
Despite rumblings of Shiffrin being an alpine GOAT, as in the “Greatest of All Time,” the Colorado resident isn’t buying into the hype. During a National Public Radio “Morning Edition” interview Monday, she said such accolades make her picture the footage of fainting baby goats that can be found on TikTok.