Olympic minute: Senna speaks and Shiffrin sends Nina O’Brien warm wishes

Quick hitting social media snapshots from the Beijing Olympics

Avon’s Chris Corning competes during the men's slopestyle finals at the 2022 Winter Olympics on Monday.
AP Photo/Francisco Seco
  • Chris Corning gave love to his Instagram followers after finishing sixth in the slopestyle competition. “Slopestyle at the Olympics was crazy! Coming home with a 6th place. Thanks to all you who have supported me for so long all the way up to new ones that will tomorrow!” he wrote on Monday. Silverthorne’s Red Gerard, the defending gold medalist, placed fourth as the Americans were kept off the podium.
  • Kai Owens is taking advantage of all of Beijing’s amenities, using an off-day from competition to get an Olympic haircut with teammate Hannah Soar.
U.S. mogul star Kai Owens got a haircut with teammate Hannah Soar Tuesday night in Beijing.
Kai Owens/Instagram
  • Owens also posted about her 10th place finish in Sunday morning’s competition. “Honored to have gotten to compete in the Olympics and represent ! It took pretty much everything I had to push out of the gate last night, and wow am I grateful I got too!” she wrote. “Thank you so so much to my amazing team for supporting me, the incredible medical support crew that literally taped me together last night, to my coaches for giving me confidence and believing in me, and lastly to my family and supporters back home! Love you all”
  • Mikaela Shiffrin has had the weight of the world on her shoulders at these Games. After skiing out of the giant slalom Sunday, an event she won gold in at the 2018 Olympics, it would have been understandable if the superstar would have eschewed speaking about the event. Instead, the Edwards resident showed class and compassion, writing of her concern for teammate Nina O’Brien in a Monday Instagram post.

“Today was one of the most turbulent days I have ever experienced,” she wrote.

“So so so happy for @sarahector – we’ve all seen her fight for her comeback for years, and to watch her pull everything together this season and manage to keep that momentum going to take gold today was something special. She deserves it so much,” she said in congratulating the gold medal winner from Sweden.

“But we’re so heartbroken for @nina_obrien… she showed so much heart and fire in her skiing today, and it all got shredded to pieces on the final turn. This sport… this sport is so damn hard. It’s brutal, and it hurts- far more often than it ever feels good,” she continued.

“@paulamoltzan kept saying in the finish- “it’s not fair. That can’t have just happened. It’s not fair.” And she’s right. It’s just sooo not even close to fair. The warrior that she is, she will get back stronger and speedier than ever, with the same upbeat and kind attitude that is trademark Nina. But tonight we’re all just sad and crossing our fingers for the best news possible.”

Mikaela Shiffrin showed concern for teammate and former Ski and Snowboard Club Vail athlete Nina O’Brien, rather then dwelling on her own disappointment after skiing out of Sunday’s giant slalom.
Mikaela Shiffrin/Instagram
  • Shiffrin’s trials continued on Wednesday morning, when she skied out of the slalom, her best event, after just four gates. She showed grace and transparency in her moving forward from that disappointment, too, redirecting the attention to her chief rival, Petra Vlhova, who won slalom gold.
Even in the lowest point of her skiing career, Mikaela Shiffrin showed honor and maturity, recognizing her own self-pity and redirecting the attention to the champion of the day, Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova.
Mikaela Shiffrin/Instagram.
  • Ryan Cochran-Siegle’s silver medal was the story of Tuesday morning’s super-G. Shiffrin had multiple reasons to smile: boyfriend Aleksander Aamodt Kilde snagged bronze after a disappointing fifth place finish in the downhill. Kilde provided support for Shiffrin in the social media, sphere, too, deflecting the ‘haters’ incapable of understanding elite athletics.
Mikaela Shiffrin gives her boyfriend, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, some love after he won the bronze medal in Tuesday morning’s super-G.
Mikaela Shiffrin/Instagram
Shiffrin thanks boyfriend Aleksander Aamodt Kilde for defending her on social media.
Mikaela Shiffrin/Instagram
  • River Radamus finished in 15th in Tuesday’s super-G. He dedicated his Instagram story to his teammates. “Being a part of this team is the greatest honor and blessing of my life,” he posted. “I was stoked on a good SG run for me today, but mostly I’m just proud of Ryan having seen all the work he’s put in to get here.” Radamus returns to action Feb. 12 for the giant slalom.
The U.S. men’s Alpine team admire Ryan Cochran-Siegle’s silver medal.
River Radamus/Instagram
  • Vail snowboardcross athlete Senna Leith, who just missed making the 2022 Olympic team, waited a few weeks before expressing his disappointment. He went to Instagram to clear the air for his fans, giving credit to his teammates and wishing them luck in Beijing.
Vail’s Senna Leith posted his emotions over just missing nomination to the 2022 Beijing Olympic team.
Senna Leith/Instagram
  • Aspen native Hailey Swirbul gave a raw assessment of her first Olympic race, a 40th-place finish in Saturday’s skiathlon, in a long Instagram post on Monday. “I’m not gonna lie to ya’ll I saw that going differently in my mind,” she wrote. She continued by lamenting over the nature of Nordic skiing, where ski speed, snow conditions, and myriad other uncontrollable factors can greatly impact one’s performance outcome. “One of the hardest things about this sport to me is the fact that you can do everything right to the best of your ability and there are still enough factors out of your control that you will not know how a race will go until you’re actually in it,” she stated. “I gave everything I could out there yesterday. It was absolutely brutal and I am terrified of seeming negative, but I did not have much fun out there! But you know what? That’s OKAY! I am just a human doing my best, and humans can do hard things that are not always fun and still find positive takeaways. I know I can walk away trusting that I did the best with what I had on a tough day of racing and stayed true to who I am.”
  • The watch parties were bumping for snowboarder Zoe Kalapos as she hopped into the halfpipe for Tuesday’s qualifier. The Olympic debutant posted a 20.00 on her first run before improving with a 51.75 on the second. Unfortunately, she was unable to break into the top 12 and secure a spot in the Feb. 10 final. Her roommate, defending gold medalist Chloe Kim, was sharp, posting the best run of the day with an 87.75. Kim is the lone American in the final.
One of several “Zoe Kalapos watch parties” that was shared in the 24-year-old’s Instagram story.
Zoe Kalapos/Instagram

Ryan Sederquist is a reporter for the Vail Daily, a sister publication of the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at

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