In a surprise move, Mikaela Shiffrin announced on Tuesday, February 14, 2023, that she would leave her long-time coach Mike Day. The announcement comes just a day before she is due to compete in one of her star disciplines, the Giant Slalom, at the 2023 World Championships in Courchevel and Méribél, France. Shiffrin has worked with Mike Day for seven seasons, during which time she won the Overall Alpine World Cup trophy, the famous large crystal globe, four times and is currently on her way to her fifth.
The U.S. Alpine director Patrick Riml told the Associated Press on Wednesday, February 15, 2023, “Mikaela wants to do something different going forward. She wants a new challenge, and she informed Mike. Mike decided to go home. It’s a shock for me that he took off.”
Mike Day had been by her side when Shiffrin won Silver at the World Championships in Super-G last week. The pair subsequently trained in nearby Orcieres before returning to Méribél for the second week of competitions.
During an interview with Alessandro Poggi, Mike Day allegedly admitted to having disagreements with Shiffrin as recently as last week, playing it down to the journalist for the Olympics website just a week prior to the shock announcement by saying: “I think that’s part of any long-term relationship between a coach and an athlete and within the team like we have. I don’t think it’s something regular, but I think that that’s the only way to grow. I think if we were constantly agreeing on everything within our team, then, you know, I don’t think we would be getting better.”
In hindsight, it appears that there was more to the disagreements than Day could have anticipated, and his abrupt departure indicates that things did not end on good terms.
In the meantime, Shiffrin will be coached by other coaches within the U.S. Alpine team, including Paul Kristofic, who is the head coach of the overall U.S. women’s team, as well as members from her team, such as her mother Eileen, who has coached Mikaela her entire life.