Vonn leads, Shiffrin in mix after downhill leg of combined

Lindsey Vonn being led by her dog Lucy

Struggling to regain her balance, she missed a gate. In the aftermath of an Olympic build up that has featured inevitable media hype and also the death of her grandfather and a vicious right-wing troll campaign, Vonn could be excused for wanting to make it off the mountain without calling for a medevac.

Gisin's victory, with a combined time of two minutes 20.90, almost a second ahead of pre-race favourite Shiffrin, completed a rare Olympic double for her family.

Dominique Gisin won the women's downhill at Sochi 2014.

With the silver, Shiffrin became the fourth American to win at least three Olympic Alpine ski medals.

Image gallery of swiss olympic medalists. She didn't compete at the Sochi Games because of a knee injury.

Shiffrin took to the start gate with a 0.76sec advantage over Holdener, who won silver in the Pyeongchang slalom and world combined silver a year ago, and the American could be seen chewing her lips in stress as she readied herself.

Bad weather disrupted Shiffrin's grandest plans from the beginning, postponing each of her first two races. "It's sad", she said, dabbing away tears.

Norway won the men's sprint, giving the country its 13th cross-country medal at the games to tie an Olympic record, and added gold in the men's speedskating team pursuit with a win over South Korea in the final.

The next day, she was as languid as she was dynamic the previous day.

"She's always a person that I've admired and if there's someone that's going to beat me, I'm happy that it's her because I know she's worked her tail off and she's put in the time to get there".

When most of the American public checks back on Alpine racing, at the Beijing 2022 Games, Shiffrin will be 26.

The wind delays resulted in women's Alpine events being compressed into eight back-to-back days of training runs and competitions, so Shiffrin pulled out of the super-G and the downhill at the last minute to rest up for the super combined. "It's wonderful to be on the podium with two such awesome skiers and I knew I would have to produce the slalom of my life just to have a chance to get that gold medal", said the Swiss skier.

Downhill: Speed is key in the fastest Alpine skiing event.

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This was no shock in the manner of snowboarder Ester Ledecka's win in the super-G at the weekend as Goggia leads the World Cup downhill standings, even if the Italian had finished second behind Vonn in their two most recent meetings.

Alpine Skiing - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Women's Downhill - Jeongseon Alpine Centre - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 21, 2018 - Gold medallist Sofia Goggia of Italy celebrates her victory as she is flanked by silver medallist Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway and bronze medallist Lindsey Vonn of the USA during the flower ceremony.

Switzerland's Wendy Holdener won bronze after claiming silver in the slalom.

Those in the skiing world will point to the fact that Vonn only raced slalom three times since Thanksgiving.

But the racecourse set Thursday afternoon lacked enough challenge to give Shiffrin any noticeable advantage.

To the place where her life began in so much uncertainty.

Her stay atop the leaderboard was short-lived. Could Shiffrin hold onto her silver?

"For me, a silver medal is wonderful".

It prompted another day of celebration for the Gisin family, although Michelle insisted sibling rivalry was not a motivator. "And that's pretty good".

And it's what we have in Vonn and Shiffrin. They had a brief exchange.

Vonn looked skyward and blew kisses in the air, a tribute to her grandfather, who died past year.

"I knew I had to risk everything", said Vonn, who won downhill bronze in midweek. "I think she had the potential to do a lot more at these Games, but at the same time you can't expect everything all the time". But as I saw in my career [in addition to 81 World Cup wins, the second most in history, numerous surgeries and a body battered by years in her chosen sport], things can change quite quickly and you never know what's going to happen.

Vonn then paused ever so briefly to look around the finish area. With the sun darting in and out and a light snow falling for the slalom, the artificial lights lining the course were switched on.


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