February 19, 2019

Q&A with Ted Ligety: Olympic Alpine skier talks medals, setbacks and Pyeongchang

10 February 2018, 06:08 | Anna Jefferson

Mikaela Shiffrin will start favourite in the slalom in PyeongChang

Mikaela Shiffrin will start favourite in the slalom in PyeongChang

Lindsey Vonn is the top female Alpine skier in history; Mikaela Shiffrin is winning so fast at age 22 that.

USA ski queen Lindsey Vonn had some fun at the expense of a Twitter troll and showed she is in jovial form in the build-up to the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

"It's extremely lonely on the road and since I got divorced I had a lot of free time on my hands at night".

Shiffrin reeled off five consecutive World Cup victories to start 2018, but has since managed to only stand on the podium once in her last four outings, something compatriot Miller puts down to fatigue.

She estimates that she spent the equivalent of about three years on rehabilitation from various injuries; while Vonn reiterated Friday she plans to ski another season to eclipse Stenmark, when she mentioned the word "retirement", it was in the context of how long her knees will hold up.

Vonn, who will compete in the downhill, Super G and combined events here next week, broke down in tears when asked about the death of her grandfather and skiing mentor, Don Kildow, who died a year ago.

Yes, there's a little insight into how Vonn thinks.

She wiped away excess tears and composed herself. "It took me until my third Olympics how to figure out how to deal with the pressure", said Vonn who made her Olympic debut as a 17-year-old, racing in the combined event, at Salt Lake in 2002.

Lindsey Vonn is a grown woman of enormous professional accomplishment and a personal life that has played out in public over the past decade-and-a-half.

Vonn won a gold medal in downhill skiing at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

"It's harder in some ways, definitely, that it's my last Olympics, because I want to end on a high note".

"I want so badly to do well for him", Vonn said.

"I'm of Norwegian descent and so I feel like I'm pseudo team member of the Norwegian team". They are speaking more loudly all the time.

Vonn smiled and kidded around for much of the half-hour Q-and-A, but her mood changed when she was asked about her grandfather, Don Kildow, who died in November. She is experienced, a star within the insular world of Alpine skiing, but an established, familiar face who can sell watches and milk and athletic wear to a wider audience.

It was devastating to miss the Sochi Olympics after I had already fought so hard to come back from the same injury. He was such a big part of my life, I hoped he'd be alive to see me. They would drop my brother and I off there and we'd go skiing all day and my parents would pick us up after work.

"As long as my knee is holding up and I am still able to win, then I will keep skiing", she said.

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