Vonn ready to bow out on a high note

Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn is on her way to South Korea for the Winter Olympics, but only after encountering a series of delays.

"And I would say she's the best there's been even compared to Stenmark, because Stenmark wasn't able to compete in all the different events".

But much to the chagrin of Vonn, her fans and NBC, which had built a promotional campaign around her, she missed the 2014 Olympics after re-injuring her right knee. Vonn said that this time she is trying "to soak in as much of the Olympic experience as I can".

Mikaela Shiffrin dismissed comparisons to Olympic great Michael Phelps as the American looks to add to her one Games gold medal in Pyeongchang.

Vonn says she has slowly learnt how to handle the pressure and high expectations that arrive with every Olympics.

'I feel like I'm coming into these Olympics on a hot streak, ' she said. "All those things that are kind of part of who I am sort of disappear".

Denied her presence in Sochi four years ago through injury, the organisers gave her star billing here in a packed session that justified the indulgence.

"If it's more windy than today, the gondola is not going to run so then we have a major problem for everybody and it's not going to happen".

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"In 2010, I was a much healthier athlete, but in 2018, I'm a much stronger athlete, not just physically but mostly mentally. I am skiing exceptionally well; I have a lot of confidence".

"The decision ends up being with the coaches as to who's the best medal contender but I always have the option to pull myself out of races if I don't feel prepared".

The speed specialist, who will not compete in Giant Slalom, wants to ensure that she takes full advantage of her fourth Games. I think about him all the time, especially when I'm racing. Before Vonn headed back onto the World Cup circuit last fall, she made what has become an annual sojourn back to their simple house, where she sleeps on a house in the basement.

Vonn said she was questioning whether she was going to bring Lucy with her to PyeongChang because it's a long trip, "but she's always with me so I figured I need her for the most important event". I'm not going to be nervous.

Vonn also is still in the hunt to break Stenmark's record and thinks she can exceed it next season.

She closed her eyes and paused, then spoke haltingly as she began crying. As long as her body holds up, she will be back for one more valedictory season before retreating to full-time pursuit of a life partner, unless her chums in the Norwegian men's squad, Axel Lund Svindal and Kjetil Jansrud, who share the same ski sponsor, Head, come to her aid beforehand.

Vonn said her increased mental strength really comes into play when she's in the starting gate.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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