When it was over, all the hype, all the promise, boiled down to two medals for covergirl and swimsuit model Lindsey Vonn.
She hit mushy snow, straddled an early gate and skied out of the first run of the slalom this morning, the third time in her five events she did not finish a course. She crashed on Wednesday in the first run of the giant slalom and, last week, did not finish the slalom portion of the super combined – her only apparent regret.
“I know I could have had more medals, like in the super combined, where I went out,” Vonn said. “But you have to attack and you have to take risks.”
Considering the increasingly inconsistent conditions on a warm and foggy Whistler Creekside facility, that philosophy might have been flawed, especially in the more technical races, where Vonn failed.
Vonn did win the downhill and the super G, a promising start to an Olympics that featured her worldwide as a particularly fetching face of the Games. She was not expected to medal in the slalom, especially after Wednesday’s crash battered an already beat-up body.
She fractured her right pinky finger Wednesday and jarred her chin, hip and back. That added to a shin injury that cost her a week of training before she arrived at the Games and threatened to knock her out of all five races.
Today, she believed she needed to be perfect in the slalom.
“I came out of the starting gate charging,” she said. “But, I haven’t been skiing a lot of slalom. I hit some mashed-potato snow, and it was over before I knew it.”
All things considered, she said, these Winter Games weren’t so bad.
“Even though today and the GS wasn't a success, I’m happy with the way my Olympics has gone,” she said. “I have a gold in the downhill and super G and I couldn’t ask for any more.”
Those two medals helped the U.S. ski team to a team-record eight medals, and counting.
Self-styled rebel Bode Miller, already the winner of three medals, skis the slalom tomorrow, the final event on the mountain.
To read our post on last night's figure skating and Canadian Joannie Rochette, click here.