Lindsey Vonn takes bronze in Olympic downhill and says ‘my body probably can’t take another four years’

Sofia Goggia of Italy wins gold but American says coming away with a medal at Pyeongchang is ‘a dream come true’

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 February, 2018, 12:58pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 February, 2018, 1:02pm

Lindsey Vonn cast a quick glance toward the sky after finishing what was likely her final Olympic downhill run, shrugged her shoulders after seeing her time and shook a friendly index finger at her good friend. No one could catch Sofia Goggia of Italy.

Goggia won the women’s downhill on Wednesday at Jeongseon Alpine Centre and Vonn earned bronze. The American was looking at a higher finish before Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway turned in a surprise silver-medal performance as the 19th racer on the course.

Goggia finished in a time of 1 minute, 39.22 seconds to hold off Mowinckel by 0.09 seconds. Vonn was 0.47 seconds behind Goggia.

“I gave it all today, skied a great race,” Vonn said. “Sofia just skied better than I did.”

At 33, Vonn becomes the oldest female medallist in alpine skiing at the Winter Games. The record was held by Austria’s Michaela Dorfmeister, who was just shy of her 33rd birthday when she won the downhill and the super-G at the 2006 Turin Olympics.

“I wish I could keep going. I have so much fun. I love what I do,” Vonn said. “My body just can’t, probably can’t, take another four years.”

Vonn captured the downhill gold at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, but did not get a chance to defend it four years later when she sat out the Sochi Games after tearing ligaments in her right knee. In a way, this was her “defence”.

“If you think what’s happened over the last eight years and what I’ve been through to get here, I gave it all and to come away with a medal is a dream come true,” Vonn said. “You’ve got to put things into perspective. Of course, I’d have loved a gold medal but, honestly, this is amazing and I’m so proud.”

This was Goggia’s first gold at an Olympics or a world championships. She has four World Cup wins – two of them at this venue.

“I still don’t realise I’m first,” Goggia said. “I was really focused. I moved like a Samurai. Usually, I’m really chaotic but I wanted to take in every little detail, every particular in the morning. I believed in myself – and then what counts, counts.”

Goggia and Vonn have struck up a friendship over the years, with Goggia recently visiting Vonn at her home in Colorado. They bonded over their love of dogs – and ski racing.

“Lindsey is a great skier, the greatest skier, a great person and a great woman,” Goggia said. “It’s always an honour to take part in the same race as her. It’s fun, too. Afterward, we’re friends. We’ll go for a coffee together, talk about our work. It’s good for our sport.”

American Mikaela Shiffrin didn’t race downhill because of the altered Olympic programme. When the Alpine combined was moved a day forward to Thursday, Shiffrin elected to skip the downhill race rather than compete in back-to-back days.

So now Shiffrin and Vonn will meet for the first time in an Olympics race during the last individual women’s event. The combined adds the times of a downhill – advantage, Vonn – and one run of slalom – big advantage, Shiffrin.

Both are not planning to participate in the team event on Saturday to close out the alpine skiing programme.