Young prodigies, whatever their trade, require a wide variety of handlers. Chaos, early adulthood, and extremely high stakes have a tendency to trigger a quick and fiery unraveling, one that often burns brightly and briefly before the public turns a blind eye. Mikaela Shiffrin will not be one of those prodigies.
The eighteen-year-old American ski racer, cautiously aware of the dangers of a quick ascent, still became, last year, the third-youngest woman to hold a World Championship title in the history of her sport. That victory, in turn, threw the weighty expectations of gold at next year’s XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi upon her. Even then, she’ll still be a teenager, albeit one for whom pressure has long been a byproduct of calculated success.