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Lindsey Vonn's Olympics end after she skis off slalom course

Lindsey Vonn came to the Vancouver Olympics with hopes for as many as five medals, a banged-up shin and unmatchable expectations. She leaves with two medals - a gold in the downhill and a bronze in the super-G - a beat-up body, and a smile despite straddling a gate and failing to finish her final event, Friday's slalom.

"I went out there fighting and it just wasn't my day," Vonn said. "I'm totally satisfied with everything I have done here. I have the gold medal I came here for."

Vonn skied 10th in the first run of slalom, held in extremely snowy conditions Friday morning in Whistler, B.C. She has struggled with the discipline this season, and she was well off pace of the leaders when she came late into a right-footed turn, then couldn't recover in time to make the next gate. She straddled the gate, and skied off the course, her Olympics over.


The result meant Vonn completed just two of the five events which she entered - and she medaled in both of those. She was on pace to win a medal in the super combined, but crashed during the slalom run. She was aggressively laying down what looked to be a superb first run in the giant slalom, her weakest discipline, but crashed again, breaking the small finger on her right hand. She raced with that finger in a brace Friday, but said she never thought about not racing - and added that it had nothing to do with her performance.

"That's just bad luck," she said, "or bad skiing."

Vonn's best friend, Germany's Maria Riesch, leads after the first run of slalom. Her time of 50.75 seconds is .40 of a second better than Sarka Zahrobska of the Czech Republic and .65 better than Marlies Schild of Austria. Riesch's little sister Susanne is in fourth, .71 of a second back.

The second run will be contested Friday afternoon - but Vonn won't be in it. She plans to attend Closing Ceremonies on Sunday in Vancouver, and then will appear on "The Tonight Show" on Monday, Jay Leno's first night back hosting the program. She will then fly to Europe, where she will race in the final seven events of the World Cup season - in which she is trying to win her third consecutive overall title.

"You always want to keep the perspective what your own goals are," Vonn said. "Going into these Games everyone was expecting a lot of me. I just tried to be realistic, and just tried to stay focused on one race at a time, and just try for one medal at a time, and that's what I did. ... I know I could have done better - probably gotten another medal in the combined and possibly another medal in the GS, but that's just the nature of ski racing. I gave it my all in every event that I competed in.

"I'm going home happy - maybe a little bit more broken and bruised than I was when I came here, but going home very happy."

By Barry Svrluga  |  February 26, 2010; 2:59 PM ET
Categories:  Lindsey Vonn , Skiing , Vancouver 2010  
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Next: UPDATE: It's official; U.S. downs Finland, 6-1, advances to gold medal game

Comments

Perhaps she would have done better if she had minded her own business of skiing instead of trashing Tiger Woods. Very sad loss of focus.

Posted by: proteusdecision | February 26, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Lindsey Vonn's interviews quickly disenchanted me with her. Her dramatic proclamations about severe pain, bad luck, were distasteful. This is a world venue and for a brief moment, I look for patriotism, bravery and modesty.

Lindsey Vonn uses "I" so much, my head almost imploded.

I hope the American Olympic Committee will encourage our athletes to exhume patriotism and love of country. Tone down the narcissistic behavior.

Posted by: virgosiempre | February 26, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Two tears brat.

Posted by: Theone9 | February 26, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Vonn is a fantastic competitor who has risen to the top of Alpine skiing by combining native talent with lots of hard work. Does she have flaws? Certainly. She needs to patch things up with her father though there is probably work to be done on both sides of that coin. But by and large Lindsey is the greatest ski racer (man or woman) to ever emerge in this country and an impressive person to boot.

Posted by: jdnathan | February 26, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse


The media has created a prima donna with this one.

Sorry, but the hype was bigger than the performances.

Posted by: postfan1 | February 27, 2010 2:35 AM | Report abuse

I was not impressed when she received her bronze medal. After the other two women got theirs, she pulled her gold medal out and waved it around with her bronze. We all knew she had won the gold before, why did she have to display such crass arrogance? It wasn't about her, she didn't win gold that race and her gold medal had no place being flashed on the podium when she was receiving another medal that wasn't gold. and what's with the UGLY coats the American atheletes are wearing. they all look like babushkas in their big long quilted star covered blue sacks, not sleek toned atheletes.

Posted by: katem1 | February 27, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

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