Mikaela Shiffrin brings aboard Karin Harjo as head coach
World Cup record-holder Mikaela Shiffrin has a new head coach.
PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — Fresh off breaking the record for most World Cup race wins, Mikaela Shiffrin has a new head coach, Karin Harjo, who has been leading Canada’s Alpine skiing team.
U.S. Ski & Snowboard announced Harjo’s hiring on Monday and said she will join Shiffrin in April. Harjo has worked with Shiffrin as an assistant coach for the American team in the past.
“I’ve witnessed her exceptional work ethic, her ability to work well with other coaches, and most importantly her connection and dedication to her athletes,” Shiffrin said in a statement released by the team. “I believe she can add a huge benefit to my program in the coming years and will provide a fresh and new way of thinking as we move forward.”
Harjo will work with Shiffrin’s mother, Eileen, who also has been one of the two-time Olympic gold medalist’s coaches.
Shiffrin won a slalom in Are, Sweden, on Saturday for her 87th career World Cup victory, one more than Ingemar Stenmark’s total, a mark once thought untouchable. And Shiffrin is expected to keep adding to her total for quite some time: Monday was only her 28th birthday.
She also has clinched her fifth World Cup overall title this season.
Harjo replaces Shiffrin’s longtime coach, Mike Day, who left during the world championships last month when Shiffrin told him she wanted to change her staff at the end of the season. Day coached Shiffrin since 2016 and was with her for 65 of her World Cup wins.
“I am beyond excited and humbled by the opportunity to work with Mikaela in this capacity,” Harjo said. “I started my World Cup coaching career working with the U.S. women’s tech team, and have always been impressed with Mikaela’s focus, resilience and dedication to the process. Her work ethic is second to none, and I’m looking forward to working with her in this next stage of her career. The thing that strikes me the most about Mikaela is that she has already achieved so much, but she still knows there’s still room for betterment.”
U.S. Ski & Snowboard said Harjo was just the second woman to be a head coach for an Alpine women’s team when she joined the Canadians last year and in 2016 became the first woman to be a course-setter for a women’s World Cup technical race.