Team Shiffrin shakes up coaching staff ahead of Olympics


Photo courtesy of US Ski & Snowboard.

For Mikaela Shiffrin and her tight-knit group of coaches and support staff, there’s seemingly no time like the present to make a change. With less than three weeks to go before the Beijing Winter Olympics, Shiffrin relieved longtime trainer and trainer Jeff Lackie, who will not be returning to Europe after a bout with Covid in his home country of Canada.

According to Lackie, who spoke with Ski racing media on Monday, the dismissal was the result of a prolonged case of Covid which he acquired after traveling to his home in Toronto. Lackie, who coached and coached Shiffrin for six years, had returned to Canada while Shiffrin herself was in quarantine and recovering from the virus. His role with Team Shiffrin focused on strength and conditioning as well as speed disciplines.

“It’s important that Mikaela has a team around her who will be able to provide her with what she needs, especially in the run up to something as stressful as the Olympics,” Lackie said. “So the decision has been made to replace me, and I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish with Mikaela over the past six years.”

Jesse Hunt, Alpine Director for the United States Ski Team, also confirmed the change saying, “Given the current Covid challenges and the fact that Jeff has been back in Canada for a few weeks now, he has been decided that he would not return as head of Team Shiffrin. to Beijing.

Lackie has been loosely replaced on the staff by Coley Oliver, who previously worked with the now defunct Team X – an independent women’s racing team based in Park City. Most recently, Oliver coached the US Women’s European Cup program.

In the immediate future and at the Olympics, Hunt says Shiffrin will work closely with the USA Women’s Sprint Team in preparation for those events.

“Mikaela is sprinting and has been working with female sprint coaches for several years now,” Hunt said. “She has faith in the speed team and enjoys working with them. … Coley will join and support the team where needed.

Shiffrin’s staff also includes his personal head trainer, Mike Day, as well as his mother, Eileen Shiffrin.

“I’m proud to say that we developed an all-around skier who was very competitive in all events,” Lackie said of his former athlete. “She still has a lot to accomplish. I wish him and the team good luck and hope everything goes well in China.

In 2021, Lackie received the Doc Counsilman Science Award from the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC).

“Lackie’s application of science in virtually every aspect of training programs and daily life sets an example for all teams,” read a USOPC statement. “Lackie applies scientific principles to many areas that have not typically been informed by data, including dissecting video to motion analysis and performing mathematical probability to help inform schedule planning. competitions.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, he has engaged with outside sports organizations to learn and share best practices while being actively involved in the National Team Coach Leadership Development Program. ‘USOPC, contributing to the long-term success of Team USA,’ the statement read. keep saying.

Lackie has been reassigned to the USA Ski Team’s Europa Cup program, reports Hunt.

“Jeff has done a terrific job with Team Shiffrin,” Hunt said. “He will be an asset wherever he coaches.”

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