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Being part of Team Shiffrin

Regan Dewhirst spent the past two years working as Shiffrin’s physical therapist.
Published: Dec. 14, 2020 at 9:27 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - One person that knows first hand the effort it takes for Mikaela Shiffrin to reach and maintain her status as one of the best skiers in the world is Regan Dewhirst. Dewhirst recently finished up a two year stint as Shiffrin’s physical therapist on the World Cup circuit as part of her traveling party on the U-S Ski Team.

Dewhirst is a native of Hanover, New Hampshire and was friends with Mikaela and her brother when the Shiffrins lived there during Mikaela’s childhood.

Dewhirst went on to UVM, where she was a four year player on the women’s soccer team. She graduated in 2012 and earned her doctorate in physical therapy in 2015.

In 2018, Shiffrin reached out to her childhood friend and asked if she wanted to join Mikaela’s team on the World Cup circuit.

Dewhirst spent the next two years traveling the globe with Shiffrin, helping her prepare for and recover from races. She says fans have no real idea of the amount of work an athlete like Shiffrin puts in to be able to compete at her level.

She also says that while it is the athlete at ultimately has to performance in the moment, when a win is achieved, the entire team feels the thrill of the victory.

“There’s not a lot of other feelings like watching that second run (of a two run World Cup race).”, says Dewhirst. “Usually she’ll go out of that start gate and there’s a tiny little TV that you could watch up at the start and everybody’s huddled around it and especially when she would come from behind, I would get nervous.”

“You totally get butterflies, and when she cross the finish line, her tech was usually up there with me with as well, and it will be a full celebration. When things go smoothly and when they all come together and she feels like she really skied well, that’s really special.”

After one last trip to Europe on October to help train her replacement, Dewhirst returned to Vermont and works at VASTA Performance Training and Physical Therapy, primarily at their newly opened facility in Waterbury.

Dewhirst says she is taking what she learned as part of a top level team working with Shiffrin and bringing it with her as she now works with athletes of all levels.

“I think the communication piece is huge, both from how well she was able to communicate with me, as well as being able to communicate with her strength coach, her on hill coaches and her mom, everybody around her.”, says Dewhirst.

“We’re all athletes in different ways and we’re all trying to be our best at skiing, or soccer, or whatever people are getting back to.

How valuable really coordinating with the patient, or the athletes coach and their parents, and making sure that this rehab team is really tight knit.”

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