2 training runs on the 2018 Olympic course, 2 wins for Vonn
JEONGSEON, South Korea — Two training runs on the 2018 Olympic course, two wins for Lindsey Vonn.
The 32-year-old Vonn’s return from injury is still on track as she prepares for Saturday’s World Cup downhill at the venue for the Pyeongchang Games, where she won training runs on back-to-back days.
In bright sunshine and mild conditions in the Pyeongchang region of South Korea on Friday, Vonn finished the 2.7-kilometer (1 2/3 mile) course 0.10 ahead of Ilka Stuhec, the world downhill champion from Slovenia.
There is still construction work continuing around the Jeongseon Alpine Centre, but overall Vonn is satisfied with the conditions.
“I really liked the course,” said Vonn, an official honorary ambassador for the games. “It wasn’t perfect, but it’s a beautiful track. I think when the snow gets harder it will be pretty fast and extremely fun.”
The finishing order the top three was the same in both runs, with Sofia Goggia third again Friday, 0.83 seconds behind Stuhec. U.S. skier Stacey Cook, who moved into fourth spot, 0.6 further back.
Vonn won Olympic gold in 2010 but injury prevented her from defending her title in Sochi in 2014. Recent seasons have been marred by injuries, including a season-ending knee injury in February, 2016, and a broken upper right arm last November. That sidelined her until mid-January.
“It’s been tough and stressful with the injuries,” Vonn said. “It’s more difficult psychologically than physically.”
Still, another Olympic medal is part of her plans for next February.
“I have been working hard to get back to the Olympics for eight years,” she said.
Lee Hee-beom, president of the Pyeongchang 2018 Organising Committee, hopes that the locals will enjoy this sample taste of events to come next year.
“This is a great chance for Koreans to come and take a look at some of the best skiers in the world,” Lee said. “They can see what kind of form and condition everyone is in a year before they return to the Olympic stage.”
The women use the same Olympic race hill as the men, but with different gate settings.
On Thursday, also in South Korea, the women’s sprint at the International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup was won by Laura Dahlmeier of Germany. Tiril Eckhoff of Norway took silver while bronze went to Anais Chevalier of France.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.