ZHANGJIAKOU, CHINA — American alpine racing superstar Mikaela Shiffrin struggled at the Olympics, failing to bring home any medals.
Last week, she posted a message to social media broadcasting some of the hateful criticism she’d received during the Games, telling her audience that “there will always be turkeys” and that it’s “not the end of the world to fail.”
Cross-country star Jessie Diggins, after winning a silver in her final race of the Games — her second medal in Beijing — had her own response to share.
“People need to remember that they don’t get to judge. They can try, but it’s nobody’s place to assess somebody’s mental state. It’s nobody’s place to assess their performance, or critique them or judge them,” Diggins said in an interview after her race, in which she brought up Shiffrin herself.
Diggins has said she’s tuned out from social media and news coverage during the Games, where expectations for medals have put her in the spotlight. She also was at the center of a controversy around the New York Times’ coverage of her first medal in Beijing, as American cross-country skiers and fans objected to the newspaper’s description of Diggins’ body.
Diggins, in the interview Sunday, said teammates had shared Shiffrin’s post with her, and that she’s had identical attacks leveled at her. People, she said, “need to remember that there’s a human on the other end of that.”
“Someone’s out there putting their heart and soul on the line, over and over and over. That’s amazing,” Diggins said. “All we should be doing is applauding their guts and their grit. And so, I just think people need to chill, with the judging.”
Nat Herz is an Alaska-based journalist who moonlights for FasterSkier as an occasional reporter and podcast host. He was FasterSkier's full-time reporter in 2010 and 2011.