Lindsey Vonn says she’s healthy enough to win now

Lindsey Vonn
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Lindsey Vonn won’t race for another three weeks, but she’s already feeling like a champion.

The Olympic downhill gold medalist told reporters on Friday that she’s ready to win a World Cup super-G.

“Super-G is really good, it’s probably some of the best super-G I’ve ever skied in my life,” Vonn said in Vail, Colo., according to the Denver Post. “I found the right setup — the right skis, boots, everything is working well — and I’ve had the most super-G training of any event so far in this preparation period. I definitely feel like that event is 100 percent.

“Now it’s just branching out and getting a little bit more comfortable with downhill, which should be no problem, and getting in some more training days in (giant slalom).”

Vonn, 29, is coming back from blowing out her knee at the World Championships in February. She trained in Austria last month but opted not to race the season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 26.

Her first races are expected to be a downhill, super-G and a giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo., from Nov. 29-Dec. 1.

“It would be huge for me if I could win in Beaver Creek,” Vonn said, according to the newspaper. “Obviously that’s expecting a lot, my first race back. But I feel like I don’t have any pressure, honestly.

“I think I’m going to be just fine when I get to the races, but I’m not expecting anything. I’m not expecting to be on the podium, I’m not expecting a win. I’m just going to go out there and see what I can do. If I can continue training the way I am, I think the result’s going to be good.”

Vonn also said the record for most career World Cup wins held by Annemarie Moser-Proell should be attainable this season. Vonn needs four victories to pass the Austrian, but that’s not her primary concern.

“My focus is definitely on Sochi,” she said. “I want to be able to win on the World Cup before we get to Sochi. I want to go into Sochi with confidence, knowing that I can win.”

The Olympics begin with the super combined Feb. 10 and then the downhill Feb. 12. If Vonn shows she’s healthy during the World Cup season, she’ll be the favorite in the latter.

“It’s very different because I already have a gold medal,” Vonn told the Denver Post. “I feel like the pressure’s off. My childhood dream has been to win a gold medal in the Olympics, and I’ve already accomplished that, so everything from here on out is just icing on the cake.”

Vonn also said she wasn’t sure yet if Tiger Woods will be able to attend any of her races this season, according to USA Today.

Video: Lindsey Vonn calls Tiger Woods ‘dorky-goofy’

Mikaela Shiffrin heads to world championships with medal records in sight

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Before Mikaela Shiffrin can hold the World Cup wins record, she can become the most decorated Alpine skier in modern world championships history.

Shiffrin takes a respite from World Cup pursuits for the biennial world championships in France. She is expected to race at least four times, beginning with Monday’s combined.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup victories in 23 starts this season, her best since her record 17-win 2018-19 campaign, but world championships do not count toward the World Cup.

Shiffrin remains one career victory behind Swede Ingemar Stenmark‘s record 86 World Cup wins until at least her next World Cup start in March.

Shiffrin has been more successful at worlds than at the Olympics and even on the World Cup. She has 11 medals in 13 world championships races dating to her 2013 debut, including making the podium in each of her last 10 events.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

She enters worlds one shy of the modern, post-World War II individual records for total medals (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt won 12) and gold medals (Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson won seven).

Worlds take place exactly one year after Shiffrin missed the medals in all of her Olympic races, but that’s not motivating her.

“If I learned anything last year, it’s that these big events, they can go amazing, and they can go terrible, and you’re going to survive no matter what,” she said after her most recent World Cup last Sunday. “So I kind of don’t care.”

Shiffrin ranks No. 1 in the world this season in the giant slalom (Feb. 16 at worlds) and slalom (Feb. 18).

This year’s combined is one run of super-G coupled with one run of slalom (rather than one downhill and one slalom), which also plays to her strengths. She won that event, with that format, at the last worlds in 2021. The combined isn’t contested on the World Cup, so it’s harder to project favorites.

Shiffrin is also a medal contender in the super-G (Feb. 8), despite starting just two of five World Cup super-Gs this season (winning one of them).

She is not planning to race the downhill (Feb. 11), which she often skips on the World Cup and has never contested at a worlds. Nor is she expected for the individual parallel (Feb. 15), a discipline she hasn’t raced in three years in part due to the strain it puts on her back with the format being several runs for the medalists.

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Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen
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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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