Lindsey Vonn
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Lindsey Vonn’s Olympic legacy

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The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games is expected to be the final Olympics for Lindsey Vonn.

“I’m going to miss the Olympics and that’s one of the reasons why it was so emotional for me,” Vonn said. “I love racing, love being in the starting gate with so much pressure that you feel suffocated. Then you throw yourself down the mountain.”

A look at her Olympic legacy:

Three career Olympic medals

  • 2010 Vancouver Olympics (gold, downhill)
  • 2010 Vancouver Olympics (bronze, super-G)
  • 2018 PyeongChang Olympics (bronze, downhill)

Julia Mancuso is the only U.S. woman with more Olympic Alpine skiing medals.

U.S. Olympic downhill history

Vonn became the first U.S. woman to win an Olympic downhill gold medal in 2010.

Vonn, 33, became the oldest female Alpine skiing medalist in Olympic history when she claimed the downhill bronze medal in PyeongChang.

When Vonn was 10, she posed for a photo with her Olympic idol, Picabo Street.

Vonn still has the photo hanging in her bedroom.

“I want to give the girls of the next generation someone to look up to,” Vonn said, “just like I looked up to Picabo Street.”

Vonn thinks about that moment when she interacts with her own fans.

“I understand how much you can impact someone just by meeting them,” Vonn said. “A short period of time can make a lifelong difference.”

 

Ester Ledecka must decide between ski, snowboard worlds

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SELVA DI VAL GARDENA, Italy (AP) — Skier-snowboarder Ester Ledecka will not be able to follow up her dual sport gold-medal performances at the PyeongChang Olympics with a similar haul of world titles this season.

That’s because the schedule won’t allow it, and she’s not happy about it.

The parallel giant slalom at the world freestyle skiing and snowboard championships in Utah is Feb. 4 — the same day downhill training opens at Alpine skiing worlds in Are, Sweden, and a day before the super-G.

“I was a little bit hoping they would reschedule the snowboard race — put it a week earlier so I could do it both — but they didn’t want to so I have to choose,” Ledecka said Tuesday after placing 29th in a World Cup downhill.

In PyeongChang, Ledecka followed her super-G title by winning the parallel GS in snowboarding — becoming the first athlete to win two golds at one Winter Games using two different types of equipment.

The 23-year-old Czech is the reigning world champion in parallel GS.

Ledecka said she brought up the issue with the International Ski Federation, which governs both sports.

“On one side I see their point. For one athlete why should they do that, right? But from the other side I think I made snowboarding a little more popular, and I think a lot of fans would be happy to see me compete in both,” Ledecka said. “It’s their decision, and I have to respect it.”

Ledecka has not decided which worlds she’ll compete in. She’s currently going back and forth between the snowboard and ski circuits.

Last week, she finished first and second in two parallel GS events in Italy and then switched to downhill skis this week. She was fastest in a downhill training run Monday before finishing 29th in Tuesday’s race.

“I think I can decide right before,” Ledecka said. “But it will probably be early, so I’m well prepared.”

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Sandro Viletta, Olympic super combined champion, retires

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Sandro Viletta, the surprise 2014 Olympic super combined champion, retired from Alpine skiing at age 32 after major injuries, according to the Swiss Ski Federation.

Viletta, who did not defend his Olympic title in PyeongChang, has not raced on the World Cup since tearing a knee ligament in a December 2016 super-G crash. He hasn’t raced anywhere since another knee ligament tear in a lower-level race in March.

Viletta took gold in Sochi despite having one World Cup podium to his name (from more than two years earlier). Viletta was 14th in the downhill part of the Olympic combined, then had the second-fastest slalom to win by. 34 over Croatian Ivica Kostelic.

“I did not think this was possible; I did not expect to win, even after I had the lead today,” Viletta told reporters after the race. “But on one day, I had the perfect day.”

Viletta was the lowest-ranked racer in the downhill to come back to win the Olympic combined since the format changed from two slalom runs to one in 2010. He is Switzerland’s lone Olympic men’s Alpine champion from the last two Winter Games.

The combined’s place at the Olympics and world championships and on the World Cup is in peril as the International Ski Federation has incorporated more parallel slalom and giant slalom races in recent years.

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