Lindsey Vonn's bid for a second Olympic downhill gold medal came unstuck on Wednesday as the U.S. ski star finished third in the women's blue riband event won by "crazy" close friend Sofia Goggia of Italy.
She clocked a time of one minute 39.22 seconds to clinch gold ahead of Norway's Ragnhild Mowinckel who was just 0.09 secs behind while Vonn finished with a time of 1:39.69.
The American Queen of the Slopes, looking for her second Olympic downhill gold before she bows out of the Games, up against the carefree 25-year-old Italian upstart.
Vonn, generally considered the greatest female ski racer in history, was in strong form heading into these Olympics, winning the last three World Cup downhills she entered beforehand.
At the finish the American blew a kiss skyward for her grandfather, who passed away in November.
But after a series of serious injuries, she doubts she will make another Olympics.
Goggia and Vonn are close friends, sharing a mutual respect and openly describing themselves as "100 percent crazy" in their pursuit of downhill speed. Maybe I should have let the skis run a little bit more. After finishing sixth in super-G, she trailed Goggia by nearly half of a second to take away the downhill bronze. "Only slightly bummed I'm not skiing it today cause we have 4 girls who are ready to hammer down and I can't wait to watch!"
This World Cup season, Goggia and Vonn have waged a 1-2 battle in the downhill. "It's the perspective that I think is important". 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.
Despite her astounding success in the sport, Vonn has found herself the target of intermittent abuse online after saying in December she would not visit the White House should she win a medal in Pyeongchang, saying she was representing the United States and not President Donald Trump.
"The challenge mentally is not to get back to the level you were before but - to take the new things you learned through your injury and match that together with the person you were before", she said after training this week.
Yes, there were tears at the thought that she likely won't be able to do this again at the Winter Games.
The night before the race, she said on her Twitter account: "Tomorrow I will push out of the starting gate in what will most likely be my last Olympic Downhill race".
Now, as others and I have pointed out, the comparison to Sochi 2014 is one NBC likes when it looks good and dismisses as old media metrics when it doesn't. "I'd have loved a gold medal, but honestly, I'm so proud".
"It was intense", she said. She has four World Cup wins - two of them at this venue.
Lindsey Vonn prefers not to dwell on what shapes up as a significant story line for the women's downhill at the Pyeongchang Games. But the completion of her signature event left the American feeling bittersweet. "I'm trying to accept that and enjoy the ride". "I'm so proud to have competed with such fantastic girls".
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