On particularly stressful times, Mikaela Shiffrin can feel anxiety build moments before her run. Her throat tightens and her eyes water. Her suit feels way too tight and her stomach churns.

As a teenager, the two-time defending overall World Cup champion never experienced this level of nervousness before a race.

Now that pressure sometimes engulfs her.

It first struck two years ago and she thought it was the flu. The feeling has overtaken her in several more races, including the Olympic slalom last February, when she finished fourth.

Now she’s trying something new after talking to a friend who’s also a sports psychologist: Tune out expectations, enjoy the ride.

“If I’m thinking about whatever everybody is expecting, it ruins it and that’s silly,” the three-time Olympic medalist said ahead of the World Cup season-opening giant slalom race Oct. 27 in Soelden, Austria. “I’m taking a minute to appreciate where I actually am in the sport.”

Shiffrin, a 23-year-old from Avon, Colorado, is coming off a season in which she won 12 races on her way to a second straight overall title. She earned two Olympic medals, including gold in the giant slalom and silver in the combined.

Mention the Olympics and she audibly exhales.

Shiffrin was favored to win multiple medals. She embraced the pressure. Then the weather played havoc with the schedule and led to changes. Nerves crept in.

Shiffrin started strong, taking gold in the giant slalom. The next day was the slalom, her signature event. The anxiety struck and she was ill before her first run. In the second pass, she was too cautious and finished a spot off the podium. Shiffrin had nothing left, not even emotions.

“I felt indifferent,” Shiffrin said. “That’s when I know I’m tired. That I need to get some rest. But rest was the one thing I knew I couldn’t get during the Olympics.”

She pulled out of the super-G and downhill events to conserve energy for the combined, where she earned a silver medal.

Two medals – a nice haul. But two medals wasn’t five.

“I come back home and people who don’t see ski racing on a daily basis or a yearly basis see the Olympic articles, ‘Mikaela Shiffrin is a five-medal threat.’ For them, (two medals) was a disappointment. I let the country down somehow.”

That’s where her friend/psychologist came in.

“She knew me before I had nerves and knew my mentality and how I tick and how I’m driven,” Shiffrin said. “She can remind me of that. It’s been really, really helpful.

“I’m happy with myself. I love my family. I love my job. I love ski racing. Everything is just fine.”