Skier Mikaela Shiffrin
At 16, Mikaela Shiffrin is already being called the fastest skier the U.S. has ever produced. Shiffrin will make her World Cup debut this winter. Can she hang with skiers like Lindsay Vonn and Maria Höfl-Riesch?
Shiffrin won the women's slalom title at the 2011 U.S. Alpine Championships by half a second.
Shiffrin learned to ski at Vail but prefers gates to powder: "You could actually say that I didn't enjoy skiing," she says. "But I loved racing gates."
Burke Mountain Academy headmaster Kirk Dwyer says Shiffrin is the best skier in school history. Dwyer has worked with Daron Rahlves, Jeremy Nobis, and A. J. Kitt.
Shiffrin, according to Denver sports psychologist Jim Taylor, isn't easily rattled. "Anything that she can control, she will control," Taylor says. "Anything she can't control, she doesn't focus on. I've worked with plenty of competent athletes who still buckle under pressure, but she's trained herself to be resilient."