Olympic gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin opens up about her anxiety: ‘It’s OK to be shy’

Mikaela Shiffrin has been put on a pedestal -- literally -- on more than one occasion.

The 23-year-old alpine skiing phenom is already a two-time Olympic gold medalist, the youngest slalom champion in Winter Games history and has more than 40 World Cup wins to her name. Her silver in super combined at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics in February upped her medal count once again and confirmed her historic path in all-time skiing record books.

Just because Shiffrin's talent has commanded the spotlight so often, however, doesn't mean her personality also demands it.

In partnership with The Child Mind Institute for Mental Health Awareness Month and a celebrity-fueled #MyYoungerSelf campaign, Shiffrin opened up this week about overcoming anxiety, assuring fans that it's both OK to be shy and step out of comfort zones.

"There was definitely a phase in my life where I didn't want to be the center of attention at all, and I still really don't," Shiffrin said in a video for the campaign. "But I've grown up a lot, especially with the sport that I do, with ski racing. I've been forced into situations where I have to become personable or go outside of my shell, and that has been really helpful to me."

Still, Shiffrin said she'd go back and tell her younger self that it's also OK to be introverted.

"At some point, I think it will be important that you challenge yourself a little bit, and you try to get it out there a little bit," she said "But just to know that it's OK to be shy. You don't have to be the loudest voice in the room. You don't have to be the one who tells all the funniest jokes. You can just be there and appreciate being there, and that's just fine."

The Child Mind Institute, which has also drawn support from celebrities like Mark Ronson and James Van Der Beek, is an independent nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders.

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