Keeping an eye on her granddaughter


Polly Condron is likely to be glued to her computer this morning.

The 91-year-old Lanesborough resident will be watching her granddaughter, teenager Mikaela Shiffrin, battle Tina Maze in Switzerland for the World Cup slalom title.

"I've been so excited about her success," Condron said. "It's unbelievable. She's the sweetest gal you'll ever meet."

Shiffrin won the slalom gold medal at the world championships last month. Her Slovenian rival is having perhaps the greatest season in 47 years of World Cup racing. Maze marginally leads the slalom standings, but Shiffrin will take home the crystal trophy if she delivers a fourth World Cup victory.

Shiffrin set the stage with a Twitter message. On Monday, two days before her 18th birthday, she wrote: "Tina Maze, I challenge you to a slalom battle of the ages. Lets dance ;)"

When Shiffrin was last in the U.S. almost four months ago, she was flying under the radar of American sports. Then her career took off Dec. 20 in Are, Sweden with her first World Cup victory.

Now, as a world champion with star status in Alpine skiing's European heartland, the soon-to-be high school graduate will start the 2014 Olympics season as an expected medal contender.

Shiffrin acknowledges setting a "lofty" goal last year to become World Cup slalom champion.

"Now I'm in this position where I really have a chance. I've been managed so well this season to be at this point," she told The Associated Press on Friday.

Condron's daughter, Eileen Shiffrin, is traveling with her daughter in Europe, helping to homeschool the skier and provide her with homecooked meals. Condron gets to talk to the pair on Skype every now and then.

The excitement will certainly rise a notch today for Condron, who turns 92 in August. She'll be even more thrilled if Shiffrin makes it to the Olympics next winter in Sochi, Russia.

"I'm just hoping i can still hang around for another year and watch the Olympics," Condron said. "That, too, is so, so exciting."


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