Oslo, Norway - 2023
Born in Vail, Colorado, Mikaela Shiffrin has the most World Cup wins (currently 88) of any alpine skier in history (men or women) and is considered one of the greatest alpine skiers of all time. She is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, a five-time Overall World Cup champion and a four-time world champion in slalom.
A role model for young athletes across the world, she was named as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine in 2023. I was delighted and honoured that she agreed to be part of our sporting legends series.
Mikaela dates another skiing superstar - Norway’s downhill legend - Aleksander Aamodt Kilde and they train in the summer in his home country. I saw this as my opportunity as we have strong contacts in Oslo and I felt that we could do something a little different. It would be rather lame to photograph Mikaela on a ski slope.
Norway has a strong heritage not just in skiing but in Polar exploration with Roald Amundsen being the first man to reach the North and South Poles. My leaning was to throw Mikaela into an explorer’s base camp and create a narrative hinting at both the extreme conditions and the fortitude of the protagonists. After all, her extraordinary career has often been played out in the toughest of winter conditions. Mikaela has many attributes, but her physical and mental strength define her, and I have absolutely no doubt that she could have led any polar expedition 110 years ago.
I asked her to give me a look of sovereignty and leadership in that hut and it came naturally. Aleksander, sitting immediately to her left, knows that the group are in safe hands. This is one unique bad ass woman and a national American treasure.