Lindsey Vonn

Lindsey Vonn considers returning one month earlier than expected

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Lindsey Vonn feels 100 percent physically and could return to competition later this month instead of late November, she told reporters at the U.S. Olympic media summit Wednesday.

There’s a chance she may race in the World Cup opener in Soelden, Austria, a giant slalom race on Oct. 26, Vonn said in a video conference from Ohio, where boyfriend Tiger Woods will play the Presidents Cup this week.

Vonn, who blew out her right knee at the World Championships on Feb. 5, had been expected to return Nov. 29, at the World Cup stop in Beaver Creek, Colo. She said she hasn’t pushed her knee to the maximum yet, but had “no doubt” it will hold up, according to reporters in Park City.

There was thought Vonn’s injury could limit her schedule at the Sochi Olympics to only speed events — downhill, super-G, super combined perhaps — where she would be a medal favorite if healthy.

But if she comes back for a technical event, a giant slalom, more than a month early, there’s reason to believe she could ski a full program at the Sochi Olympics. Vonn did all five events at the 2010 Olympics, winning gold in the downhill, bronze in the super-G and failing to finish the super combined, giant slalom and slalom.

However, Vonn told reporters at the media summit she doesn’t plan on skiing slalom this season.

Vonn has finished in the top seven in the giant slalom and slalom World Cup standings a combined two times in 10 seasons. All of her seven total Olympic and World Championship medals are from the downhill and super-G.

Vonn also criticized international ski officials, saying she was “not confident that safety is at the forefront of their minds.” There are already several injuries three weeks before the World Cup season starts. The reigning world champion in the downhill is expected to miss the Olympics.

.@lindseyvonn is teleconferencing into #MediaSummit today!

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Video: Vonn with Tiger Woods’ kids at Tour Championship

No NHL players means more mistakes and goals at Olympics

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GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — Hockey is a game of mistakes and it’s on display in fine form at the Olympics.

It doesn’t look beautiful, of course, with players all outside the NHL turning the puck over for point-blank scoring chances or leaving opponents wide open in front. The talent level is lower, so the risk factors and the entertainment level are up. Goaltenders have to be on their toes for unexpected, game-saving stops even more than usual.

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“It’s a short tournament: A few mistakes can decide your fate,” Finland goaltender Karri Ramo said Saturday. “You try to create more than carry it out of the zone, so obviously teams are trying to keep the puck and create scoring chances, so those mistakes happen. You’re not going to win if you play safe.”

There’s not a whole lot of safe, low-risk play so far, and scoring has increased as a result. After each team played twice, games were averaging 5.1 goals, up from 4.7 in Sochi with NHL players on the rosters.

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Ligety exits quietly, Hirscher brilliant again

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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Marcel Hirscher, the Austrian ski god, is finally having his moment. King of the World Cup tour for the past seven seasons, on Sunday Hirscher won his second Olympic gold, in the giant slalom.

Hirscher had won a grand total of no Olympic medals, nada, zip, zero in two prior Games. Now he might — could, should — win three here at PyeongChang. The slalom, another Hirscher specialty, is due to be run Thursday.

To watch Hirscher ski is to watch one of the great athletes of our — or any — time. Like being courtside in Chicago to see Michael Jordan back in the day. At Wimbledon for a Roger Federer volley. At the Water Cube in Beijing in 2008 when Michael Phelps was swimming the butterfly.

In Sunday’s race, Kristoffersen finished second, 1.27 seconds back of Hirscher. Pinturault finished third, 1.31 behind.

American racer Ted Ligety used to own this event: the Sochi 2014 giant slalom gold medalist, he was world champion in 2011, 2013 and 2015. Pinturault took Sochi 2014 bronze.

Considering his relatively low slalom ranking and the pounding that slalom demands, Sunday’s GS was — just like that, that quickly, that quietly — likely the final race of Ligety’s outstanding Olympic career.

“This is probably it for me at these Games,” he said after run two, adding that he is planning to head back to Europe, to race the remainder of the World Cup season.

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