Olympian Mikaela Shiffrin described her experience as she educated herself and voted for the 2018 midterm elections.

By Charlotte Carroll
November 06, 2018

Two-time Olympic medalist Mikaela Shiffrin clarified comments that she made about the United States' "toxic" political climate and her uncertainty on voicing her opinion because of backlash athletes face for making a stand. 

In an interview last month, Shiffrin told CNN, "If the whole political climate wasn't as toxic then maybe it would be more attractive, maybe it would be easier for me to be proud of voting and be able to say, 'Yeah, I voted for this person and here's why,' and not feel like I'm going to get totally hammered for that."

"I don't know if that's something that eventually maybe I'll grow up enough to not be scared of that anymore, but at this point I'm not quite there," she added. 

In the interview, the 23-year-old Shiffrin said: "The thing I'm uncomfortable about in politics or with the elections is I know enough about what I don't want, but I don't know enough about what I do want." She said it's hard to be her age and feel that she's "supposed to know."

Shiffrin shared in an Instagram post on Monday saying she educated herself and voted. She urged others to "vote wisely" and "be kind to each other."

View this post on Instagram

I was recently asked in an interview if I was going to vote, and I told the reporter I was not sure if I was going to, partially because there is such a negative atmosphere around politics in our nation, but mainly because it kind of scares me to voice my opinion if I am not 100% educated on every matter. It seems like so many people are all too comfortable forcing their opinion on everyone else, without having all of the facts or even understanding what they’re talking about, and I really didn’t want to be that person. But I have also seen and heard so many people speak out about important issues— issues that will decide the future of our country, and how we are able to live our lives. Perhaps the most important thing that I have heard is that if you are not willing to vote, then you can’t complain about the outcome. So, after I got home from Europe I opened my ballot and spent a lot of time looking into each candidate and measure on it. And today, I voted. I won’t claim to be a political expert on the issues in our country or the world. I certainly don’t have any answers. I’m a ski racer, not a politician. That said, it was so liberating to know that I can use my voice and my right to vote, so I know that I have done my best as an American citizen to attempt to make the difference for our future. The message I’d like to convey is pretty simple: Do your research to figure out what you want and believe and then go exercise your right (and privilege) to vote- wisely. Oh and be kind to each other. That’s pretty much it. 👍👍 #vote

A post shared by Mikaela Shiffrin ⛷💨 (@mikaelashiffrin) on

Shiffrin also tweeted Monday, sharing people are "entitled to their opinions," and to "be accepting of others." 

Over the past several years, athletes have continued to voice their opinions on the state of the country. One of the most high-profile example is Colin Kaepernick, a former 49ers quarterback who started kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality. In Olympic sports, skier Lindsey Vonn voiced her opinions on Trump before the Olympics and faced a barrage of hateful comments for her views. 

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