Karin Harjo leaves Canada's alpine team to coach Mikaela Shiffrin
PARK CITY, Utah — Fresh off breaking the record for most World Cup race wins, U.S. ski star Mikaela Shiffrin has recruited Karin Harjo from Canada's alpine women's ski team to coach her next season.
U.S. Ski & Snowboard announced Harjo’s hiring Monday and stated she will join Shiffrin in April.
Harjo has worked with Shiffrin as an assistant coach for the American team in the past.
Canada's women posted top results in Harjo's one season as head coach.
Laurence St. Germain upset Shiffrin to win a world championship in women's slalom last month in France, and Valérie Grenier claimed the first World Cup gold medal of her career in giant slalom this season.
“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 U.S. 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 was the first woman to be a head coach of a Canadian alpine ski team.
“It has been incredible to work with this very talented, passionate, and dedicated group of athletes, coaches and staff who support each other as a team," Harjo said in a statement.
"A strong foundation is in place for this team to continue to thrive and I wish them every success in the future.”
Harjo, of Hood River, Ore., will finish out this World Cup season with the Canadian women.
They'll race downhill, super-G, team parallel, giant slalom and slalom finales Thursday to Sunday in Soldeu, Andorra.
"Karin’s deep World Cup experience, technical skills, and outstanding leadership of people, team and culture helped transform our women’s program and inspire women in ski racing in Canada and beyond,” Alpine Canada president and chief executive officer Therese Brisson said in a statement.
"We thank her for her leadership and contributions to our women’s program which had the best results in over a decade."
Harjo will work with Shiffrin’s mother, Eileen, who also has been one of the two-time Olympic gold medalist’s coaches.
Shiffrin's slalom win Saturday Are, Sweden, was the 87th World Cup victory of her career, and one more than Ingemar Stenmark’s total once thought untouchable.
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."
-- With files from The Canadian Press.
The Associated Press