The United States finished fourth Sunday in Alpine skiing’s mixed team parallel at the Beijing Games, failing to clinch a medal but advancing further than they did four years ago.
The American skiers were bested for bronze by Norway in a tiebreaker after both teams lost in the semifinals, which produced a Germany-Austria final.
Austria went on to win the gold in a tiebreaker, giving Germany silver.
The event was Mikaela Shiffrin’s final opportunity to win a medal at the Beijing games after she went 0 for 5 in individual races.
Shiffrin, 26, praised her teammates for how far they came in a sport typically dominated by European countries. The US did not make it out of the first round in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.
“My teammates are what carried me through this Olympics and today I have to emphasize — I don’t think you can emphasize it enough — how unbelievable it is for us to be here and to be in the hunt for a medal,” Shiffrin said .
Shiffrin did not complete three of the five Alpine events she raced, skiing out in giant slalom and slalom, and ending with a crash in slalom. She got her best result of the Games in Super-G, where she finished ninth, and also placed 18th in the downhill.
The mixed team event on parallel giant slalom courses features top-seeded teams in elimination brackets. The losing teams in the semifinals battled each other for bronze. Two men and two women take turns on the four runs with the team scoring at least three points advancing.
On Sunday, Shiffrin earned the United States’ first point of the event, flying down the giant slalom course in a time of 25.91 seconds. Rebeka Jancova of Slovakia was never in front.
The United States team advanced to the quarterfinals after beating Slovakia in three of the four first round runs.
In the quarters against Italy, the United States advanced by winning three heats to the Italians’ one.
Shiffrin was the only US competitor in the round to post a loss. She was neck-and-neck with Italy’s Marta Bassino until the finish line, where she posted a time 20 milliseconds behind Bassino.
River Radamus, who had a fourth place finish in Giant Slalom, won each of his runs, scoring key points for the US
Despite a bobble at the start of his semifinal run, Radamus finished ahead of his German competitor, Linas Strasser, to get the United States’ only point. Paula Moltzan of the US and Emma Aichner of Germany both did not finish the run.
It came down to the final run, but American Tommy Ford, 32, couldn’t pull out a win and the US advanced to the bronze medal match-up against Norway. Germany went on to battle for gold.
In the bronze medal race, a determined Moltzan, skiing in her first Olympics, got a point for the US but Shiffrin could not match.
Radamus, last to go for the US, finished first to tie up the scores, but Norway claimed the medal in a time-based tiebreaker.
Mixed team parallel skiing made its Olympic debut in 2018 at PyeongChang, though it’s been a part of skiing’s World Championships for more than a decade.
The US has never won a team medal at the championships or an Olympics. Moltzan, 27, finished fourth in the individual parallel race and was part of the team that finished sixth at the 2021 World Championships.
“Probably watch out for us next year at the World Championships,” Moltzan said after the race. “We’re hunting for a medal.”
In a post-race interview, Shiffrin praised her teammates’ efforts in the event, and told Radamus, “the fact that you were skiing so strongly even gave us hope, that’s the biggest win you could ever give us.”
“It’s just been incredible to compete today with you guys,” she added. “After a long Olympics this is my absolute favorite memories and I just want to thank you for that.”
Shiffrin has won three Olympic medals, including gold medals in giant slalom at the 2018 PyeongChang Games and the 2014 Sochi Games.
NBC Olympics contributed.