Getty Images

Lindsey Vonn eyes more hardware, history at World Cup Finals

Leave a comment

Lindsey Vonn can break another age record and move closer to the last goal of her career on Wednesday. To do it, she must go through the Olympic downhill champion.

The international Alpine skiing season ends with the World Cup Finals in Are, Sweden, to decide the remaining competitions for season-long titles in each discipline.

The women race a downhill on Wednesday (7 a.m. ET, Olympic Channel and streaming on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers), a super-G on Thursday, a slalom on Saturday and a giant slalom on Sunday.

Mikaela Shiffrin already clinched the overall and slalom titles, but Vonn has work left for the downhill crown.

The 33-year-old trails PyeongChang gold medalist Sofia Goggia of Italy by 23 points combining results from the seven downhills contested so far this World Cup season. Goggia will clinch the season title if she finishes first or second on Wednesday.

Vonn will clinch a record-extending ninth downhill crystal globe if she wins and Goggia is third or worse, if she is second and Goggia is fourth or worse or if she is third and Goggia is seventh or worse.

Vonn is tied with retired Swede Ingemar Stenmark for the most season titles in a single discipline. Stenmark won eight slalom and eight giant slalom titles between the 1970s and 1980s.

Vonn captured eight of the last 10 downhill season titles. In the two years she didn’t win, she missed significant time due to injuries. This season, Vonn has started every World Cup downhill.

A ninth downhill title would also make Vonn the oldest woman to capture a crystal globe. That record is currently held by Austrian Michaela Dorfmeister.

The number that matters most to Vonn is 86 — Stenmark’s record total of World Cup victories. Vonn, by taking the last three World Cup downhill races before the Olympics, is now at 81 wins. She could get two more in Wednesday’s downhill and Thursday’s super-G (though she isn’t in the running for the super-G season title).

Even if she doesn’t, Vonn stands a great chance to catch Stenmark in the 2018-19 season, which could be her last before retirement. Vonn averaged five wins per season in this Olympic cycle despite missing significant time due to injuries.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Lindsey Vonn’s Olympic legacy

Jessie Diggins, inspired by Body Issue, shares eating disorder battle

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jessie Diggins hopes to open a conversation about body image after appearing in ESPN the Magazine‘s “Body Issue.” The Olympic gold medalist detailed her own experience with an eating disorder as a teenager in what she called “the most important blog I’ll ever write.”

“When I was 18-19 years old, I had everything in the world going for me, but I struggled with confidence and didn’t love myself,” Diggins, now 26, wrote on her website. “I suffered from an eating disorder, and eventually sought help at a treatment center, checking in for a summer program that saved my life. So when I was approached about the ESPN issue, I thought “is this REALLY something I want to do? Will it bring back old memories? Will I be ok with everyone seeing my body exactly as it is?”

Diggins is remembered for winning the first U.S. Olympic cross-country skiing title with Kikkan Randall in PyeongChang (Here comes Diggins!). In the cross-country world, she’s also reputed for her bubbly presence, spreading glitter across her face and sharing it with fellow skiers before races.

She wants to be associated with much more.

“I want to be known not for going through an eating disorder, but for helping other women and men speak up when they need help and not feel judged for needing a friend to talk it through with,” Diggins wrote. “Statistically speaking, at least 6% of you reading this right now are struggling with disordered eating in some way. So to those of you for whom it feels like the end of the world, I can say this: it can, and it does, get better. I know, because I lived it. It will take more courage than most anything else in your life, but you can get better. And it’s worth it.”

Years before becoming a medal-winning athlete, Diggins checked into The Emily Program, a national leader for eating disorder treatment.

“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but also the most important,” she wrote. “Because it saved my life, in every way that a life can be saved. I learned that I was struggling with this so much because I needed an outlet for stress, and that it was ok to feel a range of emotions – that I could survive feeling pressured, stressed, unhappy, sad, or angry as well as feeling happy-go-lucky.”

Diggins called posing for the Body Issue “a full-circle moment.” ESPN says the Body Issue celebrates every shape and size of athletes in artful fashion.

“[It’s] a chance for me to use a large stage to waltz right up to the microphone and share a message that I think is extremely important, and long overdue,” Diggins wrote. “We need to open up the conversation about body image, self confidence, and disordered eating. It should not be a shameful thing, or a taboo topic. It’s more prevalent than people think, and perhaps making help easier to find and less difficult to ask for could save some lives.”

MORE: Biathlon legend retires with four Olympic golds

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Darya Domracheva, triple Olympic gold medalist in Sochi, retires

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Darya Domracheva, a triple 2014 Olympic gold medalist and Belarus’ most decorated Olympian, has retired from biathlon at age 31.

Domracheva is leaving the sport because she could not continue in biathlon while raising daughter Xenia with husband Ole Einar Bjørndalen, the 13-time Olympic medalist biathlete for Norway.

“All the time after the season, I was trying to find a compromise which would allow me to raise a child and combine with a professional career at the same time,” Domracheva said, according to the International Biathlon Union (IBU). “Unfortunately I did not find an optimal solution which would allow me to combine those two important life parts. This decision is well weighted and very tough, but I finish my sports career.”

Domracheva was one of the biggest stars of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games as the only athlete to claim three individual gold medals, four years after being put on a Belarus postage stamp for earning an individual bronze. Domracheva could have competed for Russia, having been born in Minsk but raised in the remote western Siberia oil boom town of Nyagan, the birthplace of Maria Sharapova.

She became Belarus’ first female Olympic champion, saying she was “the hope of” Belarus, then was awarded the nation’s highest civilian honor, “Hero of Belarus.”

After winning her only World Cup overall title in 2015, Domracheva missed the 2015-16 campaign with glandular fever, then in April 2016 announced she and Bjørndalen were in a relationship and having a child.

Domracheva returned to take a silver medal at the 2017 World Championships, then entered PyeongChang ranked fifth in the world. Domracheva struggled early in PyeongChang with finishes of ninth, 37th and 27th before earning mass start silver and relay gold.

Her six career Olympic medals are two more than anybody else from Belarus, and her four golds are double anybody else’s total from her country.

Belarus has only competed independently since the 1994 Lillehammer Games, having previously been part of the Soviet Union. Its top athletes who competed under other flags included gymnasts Olga Korbut (six medals, four golds for the Soviets) and Vitaly Scherbo (six golds in 1992 for the Unified Team; four bronzes in 1996 for Belarus).

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

MORE: Biathlon president steps down after doping raid

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!