Lindsey Vonn ready to attack in Captain America suit
Star skier healthy, eager to compete with Olympics fast approaching
The Olympic downhill is little more than a month away and Lindsey Vonn is finally ready to start attacking at 100 per cent again.
Forget that unusual image of the 78-time World Cup winner skiing cautiously amid difficult weather conditions in Austria last weekend.
Back on one of her favourite courses — she holds a record 11 wins in Cortina — Vonn is not planning to hold anything back entering a set of three speed races this weekend: downhills Friday and Saturday and then a super-G on Sunday.
"This snow is perfect. This hill is perfect. I have a lot of confidence here," Vonn said Thursday after dominating downhill training for the second consecutive day.
"It's a place where I can definitely push myself and ski more like my 100 per cent self. I don't need to be careful. I don't need to worry about the risks. I'm just skiing like normal and I'm back to normal. This is how I ski when I am skiing well. It's not like I'm not skiing well."
Ahead of the crowd
In both training runs, Vonn's advantage was nearly a full second — an eternity in ski racing.
It was a vast improvement from the ninth and 27th places that Vonn recorded in Bad Kleinkirchheim in the super-G and downhill, respectively, last weekend.
"Everything is good. I love racing here and it's always fun for me to be here. It's beautiful. It's hard not to be happy," said Vonn, who is wearing a Captain America themed racing suit this weekend with a big white star on her chest.
Aiming to save her best for the Feb. 21 downhill at the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, Vonn has had only one win this season — a super-G in Val d'Isere, France.
She had a difficult start to the season with two crashes in Lake Louise, Alta., and then jarred her back in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
A day after her win in Val d'Isere, Vonn sat out another race because she didn't feel comfortable with the conditions. Then she took four weeks off before returning in Bad Klein.
Flipping the switch
The two training runs in Cortina have shown that Vonn is still capable of taking risks when she wants to.
"My whole career I've never had a problem going to 100 per cent," Vonn said. "It's being smart and controlling myself that has always been a problem. I feel like I've finally learned my lesson and I've been taking it easy to make sure that I can make it to the Olympics. Flipping the switch is something that comes very naturally to me."
But how will she cope if the conditions in Pyeongchang are difficult?
"That's what I'm working on with my equipment right now. I've been testing some things and trying to get a setup that I'm more comfortable with," Vonn said. "I definitely was not comfortable and not comfortable risking anything. So I think that once I find a setup that's a little bit better for icier conditions — just in case — then I'll be ready for any condition in Pyeongchang."
CBCSports.ca will have live coverage of the women's downhill event beginning on Saturday at 4 a.m. ET. as well as the super-G race on Sunday at 5:45 a.m.