March 22, 2018

Abrahamson: Lindsey Vonn has waited eight years for 100 seconds

21 February 2018, 10:48 | Randolph Howard

Mikaela Shiffrin drops out of downhill to focus on combined


Italy's Sofia Goggia won Italy's third gold medal in the winter Olympics on Wednesday, thwarting United States ski star Lindsey Vonn's bid for a second Olympic downhill gold medal.

She'd also dedicated the Pyeongchang Games to her grandfather, Don Kildow, who died in November at 88 - "I want so badly to do well for him", she'd said - and now has a new medal in his honor. I love being in the starting gate with so much pressure you feel suffocated, but somehow you will yourself to give everything you have and you throw yourself down the mountain in hopes of a medal. That earned her the U.S. Olympic Spirit Award, for best representing Olympic ideals, in a vote by fans, media and fellow Team USA members. She'd won the last three World Cup downhill events coming into the games and has the second-most all-time wins in World Cup events with 81. "I have so much fun going fast and pushing myself to the limit on downhill skis there is nothing else I would rather do", she said.

It was a knee injury which prevented her from defending her downhill title in Sochi four years ago, but Vonn said her injury problems had made her stronger.

At 33, this is likely her last Olympic downhill.

Beating Vonn on Wednesday was her friend and rival Sofia Goggia of Italy, who now sits one spot ahead of Vonn at No. 1 in the current World Cup downhill standings. The U.S. was the only team to put three women in the top 10. While she plans to compete in the combined Thursday (organizers moved the event up by a day because of the high winds expected to move into the area), the downhill is her signature race, one she has dominated like few others in the sport.

Italian Sofia Goggia produced a stunning run to claim gold in alpine skiing's most prestigious event.

It appeared, after a wait of several minutes, that Vonn, who had the No. 7 start bib, Goggia No. 5, had silver locked up. "I never in my wildest dreams thought I could do so well in such a big event".

In the months leading up to the race, Vonn has been the subject of some online vitriol for her comments regarding President Trump.

Koreas Share Historic Handshake at Olympic Opening Ceremony
The games are seen as a pivotal moment for relations between the two countries, who have been officially at war since 1950. Her presence overshadowed the nominal head of the delegation, Kim Yong Nam, the aging head of the North Korean Parliament.

The online abused increased on Saturday after she finished sixth in the super-G, a race won by snowboard specialist Ester Ledeky. It has taken her eight years to get back to this moment.

"I was really focused on my skiing and the essential things to do, and I think this was the secret behind my result".

She also said she hoped she had made her grandfather proud. "But I'm happy to do that - that's sportsmanship".

"Right now, I'm baffled and surprised and can't really understand it, though I know I've done well".

"She pointed at me like 'you again, '" said Goggia with a laugh.

"I" m trying not to think about it I" m trying just to enjoy literally every second, and enjoy being with my team ...

The last women's super-G champ who skipped the downhill at the same Winter Games was Diann Roffe of the 1994. When Vonn crossed the finish line and saw the "2" by her name, she pointed at Goggia. Most us us have been injured pretty severely, and I'm so proud and happy to have been training with them.

Goggia, who leads the World Cup downhill standings, had never won a gold medal at an Olympics or world championships but had already secured two wins at the Jeongseon Alpine Center. "Of course I would have liked a gold medal, but honestly this is fantastic and I'm so proud".

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