Top U.S. Winter Olympians like skier Lindsey Vonn and snowboarder Shaun White will parlay medal wins into financial rewards when they return to competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Racers in South Korea want to decide their shot at Olympic gold on the full 1.8-mile (2.8-kilometer) course. She was also a guest on "TODAY" alongside Olympic giant slalom champion Ted Ligety. (Shiffrin has not committed to exactly which races she will enter.) The individual events end with the women's combined, in which she would ski both slalom and downhill.
The 22-year-old slalom gold medalist from Sochi has racked up 10 World Cup victories this season but has managed to reach the podium just once in her last six races, a disappointing dip she attributed to fatigue.
She estimates that she spent the equivalent of about three years on rehabilitation from various injuries. Here, Vonn recounts how she recovered, physically and mentally, to come back stronger than ever. It was really the thought of skiing and being on the mountain again that kept me going, and I worked hard to get back there.
Yes, there's a little insight into how Vonn thinks. Once I started skiing again, I was doing three to four hours in the morning and then working out for a couple of hours in the afternoon. That is the sort of burden of expectations she places on herself. While Vonn won't race until she runs the Super-G on February 17, it will be the first of seven days of competition, with three days of downhill training followed by the downhill race on February 21, then a day of training for the combined race that pairs downhill and slalom on the 23rd.
At Vancouver in 2010, Vonn won the gold medal in the downhill, along with the bronze in the super-G.
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"I want so badly to do well for him, and I miss him so much", Vonn said of her paternal grandfather, who died in November. No words can describe how much you mean to me and how much i love you. They are speaking more loudly all the time.
"It was the wind that blew me down", said the flamboyant Italian skier who clocked the fastest speed at 71¼ miles per hour (114.7 kph).
The weather forced a shortened training run to begin 564 feet (175 meters) lower down the Jeongseon race hill.
"I think next year I can get beyond that", she said of Stenmark's record.
Vonn teared up as she continued: "He's been such a big part of my life". And I really had hoped he would be alive to see me. 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. I always have her with me.