Vonn aiming for golden Olympic farewell
The most successful woman skier in World Cup history, the USA’s Lindsey Vonn is determined to end her Olympic career on a high at PyeongChang 2018, her fourth Winter Games.
The 33-year-old has announced that she intends to compete on the World Cup circuit for one more year as she targets Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark’s all-time record of 86 race wins. Vonn edged closer to that landmark with a downhill victory in Garmisch (GER) the weekend before PyeongChang 2018 got under way, her 81st World Cup win.
The American has enjoyed less success on the Olympic stage however, winning a solitary gold medal in her first three Olympic appearances, in her favoured downhill, at Vancouver 2010. Injury robbed her of a chance to defend the title at Sochi 2014, a setback she is determined to make up for.
“I want to end on a high note,” said Vonn, who made her Olympic debut as a 17-year-old in the combined event at Salt Lake City 2002. “I really want to put an exclamation point on my career. It took me until my third Olympics how to figure out how to deal with the pressure. I think in my second Olympics in Turin, I put more pressure on myself than anyone put on me. I am just going to lay it all out there.”
Vonn has suffered a string of injury problems throughout her career, including the knee operation that kept her out of Sochi. In returning to full fitness, she has incorporated maintenance work into her regular training schedule.
“When I warm up in the morning, I need to warm up my knee first, for 15 minutes,” she explained. “Then I have to bike, I have to stretch, I have to do all these extra steps that I didn’t have to do before. In 2010 I was a much healthier athlete, but in 2018 I am a much stronger athlete – not just physically but also mentally. I have overcome a lot. I know what I am capable of and I can handle myself better than I did.”
The speed specialist, who will not be competing in the giant slalom, is hoping to make the absolute most of her fourth Games: “This is probably my last Olympics. I am soaking in every moment. I am still in awe of being able to represent my country.
I’ve had a lot of ups and downs since Vancouver, but I feel like I am coming into these Olympics on a hot streak. I am skiing exceptionally well and I have a lot of confidence.Lindsey Vonn Country