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."
February 26, 2010; 2:59 PM ET
Categories: Lindsey Vonn , Skiing , Vancouver 2010
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