Lindsey Vonn ready for Olympic downhill final after playing ‘mind games’ in training


Monday’s downhill training

1. Ramona Siebenhofer (Austria)

2. Michelle Gisin (Switzerland) +.20 seconds

3. Nadia Fanchini (Italy) +.21 seconds

Sunday’s downhill training

1. Stephanie Venier (Austria)

2. Sofia Goggia (Italy) +.08 seconds

3. Lindsey Vonn (USA) +.35 seconds

Saturday’s downhill training

1. Lindsey Vonn (USA)

2. Ramona Siebenhofer (Austria) +.18 seconds

3. Alice McKennis (USA) +.53 seconds

Lindsey Vonn clocked the fastest time in Saturday’s downhill training run, then finished third on Sunday and fourth on Monday.

Is she concerned? 

“I actually didn’t want to win the training run today,” Vonn said Sunday on NBC. “I like letting other people think that they are faster.”

Vonn, who purposely stood up out of her crouch to slow herself down at the end of her final two training runs, does not prioritize her times in training. Instead she focuses on testing her equipment and experimenting with different lines down the mountain. 

She also enjoys engaging in mental gamesmanship. 

“In speed, there are a few things you can do to play mind games,” she said. “I use every opportunity.”

Vonn, the 2010 Olympic downhill champion, acknowledged that she needs to control her own emotions in Tuesday’s downhill final. 

“I want to make sure that I stay calm,” Vonn said Monday on NBC. “Sometimes I have a tendency to get too aggressive. I want it too much. I have to make sure I stick to the line I inspected and don’t do too much. 

“I have to execute perfectly. If I can do that, then I have a good chance of getting a medal, but I have to execute.” 

Mikaela Shiffrin participated in all three downhill training sessions, finishing as high as fifth on Monday, but will not join Vonn in the downhill final. Shiffrin, who already won the giant slalom gold medal in PyeongChang, decided to instead focus on preparing for the combined event, which is scheduled for Wednesday.

“I don’t really consider myself a true medal contender in the downhill, so I wanted to focus on the combined,” Shiffrin said Monday on NBC. 

The women’s downhill final is scheduled for Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET. Vonn, 33, is hoping to become the oldest female Olympic medalist in Alpine skiing. 

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