Lindsey Vonn stayed on her feet but didn’t have the speed to match Italian Federica Brignone in her first race of 2018.
Vonn finished ninth, 1.43 seconds behind Brignone in a World Cup super-G in Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria, on Saturday.
Vonn did mathematically clinch a spot on her fourth Olympic team, though that was never in doubt.
“On the bottom I wasn’t as aggressive I should have been,” Vonn told media in Austria. “I was a little bit too conservative. It’s kind of funny because I skied the harder sections better and then the easier sections worse.”
Vonn raced for the first time in nearly a month. The World Cup tour’s previous nine events were slaloms and giant slaloms that Vonn does not favor.
Vonn came into Saturday’s race prioritizing staying healthy ahead of the Olympics over potentially taking risks to increase her chances of winning World Cups.
She was not certain to even start the super-G given poor course conditions this week, including canceled and shortened downhill training runs.
Vonn has one victory in seven starts this season but also crashed twice in December and withdrew before two other races due to back and knee injuries.
She remains eight wins shy of the World Cup record of 86 held by retired Swede Ingemar Stenmark.
Vonn said on Austrian TV this week that she does not plan to retire without breaking the record, according to The Associated Press.
The World Cup continues with a downhill Sunday at 5 a.m. ET on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and streaming on OlympicChannel.com and the Olympic Channel app.
World Cup overall leader Mikaela Shiffrin is sitting out this weekend’s races but does plan to compete at speed races in Italy next weekend.
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