Mikaela Shiffrin owns a reindeer. Two actually.
She named her first reindeer Rudolph, naturally. She named her second reindeer Sven, after the “Frozen” character.
“No reindeer likes to be alone,” Shiffrin said.
A reindeer is awarded to the winning Alpine skier at the World Cup stop in Levi, Finland. Shiffrin won Rudolph in 2013 and Sven in 2016. Rather than transport them back home to Colorado, she tracks their movements on social media and visits them in Levi.
Reindeer are far from the only prizes that make Olympic medals seem tame.
Lindsey Vonn, not to be outdone, has earned multiple cows. She claimed Olympe in 2005 and Winnie in 2014 by winning World Cup races in Val d’Isere, France. Race officials offered to trade Olympe for a $5,000 check, but Vonn emphatically turned them down.
“At the prize-giving ceremony, they told me to give the cow back and they’d give me a check,” Vonn said, according to U.S. Ski. “I freaked out at them, ‘No! You can’t take her away. You said she was my cow!’”
Olympe proved to be the gift that kept on giving. Olympe gave birth to Sunny and Karin, who is named after Vonn’s younger sister. Sunny gave birth to Don and Shirley, who are named after Vonn’s grandparents. Vonn keeps her three generation of cows in Kirchberg, Austria, where she often trains.
Vonn also earned a goat at the 2009 World Championships. She named the goat Laura, after her other sister. The goat also lives in Kirchberg along with Vonn’s herd of cows.
Other crazy ski prizes:
- A crown and a seat on a throne for the “Snow Queen” in Zagreb, Croatia
- A bird of prey in Beaver Creek, Colo.
- A crystal globe, which is given to the World Cup overall champion. Mikaela Shiffrin won the most prestigious annual prize in ski racing in 2017.