Vonn plans ‘full throt­tle’ fi­nale

Record-set­ting skier has amassed 82 career World Cup vic­to­ries

Albuquerque Journal - - SPORTS - BY ANDREW DAMPF

ARE, Swe­den — Any­one ex­pect­ing Lind­sey Vonn to take it easy in her last race should think again.

Doesn’t mat­ter if she’s still banged up from a crash with a black eye, a sore rib — not to men­tion the pain in both of her knees that forced her to move up her re­tire­ment.

“Whether I’m ready or not,” Vonn said. “I’m just go­ing to go full throt­tle.”

It will be a fit­ting way to go out for the record­set­ting skier in to­day’s down­hill at the world cham­pi­onships.

Nor­we­gian great Ak­sel Lund Svin­dal set the stage for Vonn by win­ning the sil­ver medal in the men’s down­hill Satur­day in his last race.

“She didn’t win 82 World Cups by be­ing lucky,” Svin­dal said. “If she gets a medal, it wouldn’t sur­prise me at all. It just comes down to that one day and it has to hap­pen to­mor­row. Good luck!”

Vonn’s 82 wins are the most all time by a fe­male skier and trail only the 86 won by Swed-

ish great Inge­mark Sten­mark.

To honor Sten­mark, Vonn will wear a race suit fea­tur­ing the col­ors of the Swedish flag, blue and yel­low.

“Ob­vi­ously we’re in Swe­den but also be­cause of Sten­mark and how much he has meant to the sport,” Vonn said. “It’s ob­vi­ously some­thing that has mo­ti­vated me for a long time — his record — so I’m just pay­ing my re­spects to him and this coun­try.”

Along with Vonn’s dad, two of her sib­lings and one of her best friends, Sten­mark will also be in at­ten­dance.

“I’ve been tex­ting him and he wasn’t plan­ning on be­ing here and I was like, ‘Please, please, please,’ and so he’s com­ing,” Vonn said. “I’m re­ally, re­ally, re­ally ex­cited.”

As the 34-year-old Vonn per­formed in­ter­views fol­low­ing down­hill train­ing Fri­day, a U.S. team mem­ber helped keep her mus­cles from tight­en­ing with a cord­less elec­tri­cal vi­bra­tion mas­sage de­vice. She’s still re­cov­er­ing from her crash in su­per-G on Tues­day.

“I’m re­ally stiff,” she said. “Things are pulling in ways they shouldn’t be pulling and some­times my ribs come out. It’s not some­thing that’s new to me. Usu­ally I can man­age to where it’s not a prob­lem.”

The down­hill is sched­uled to start at 12:30 p.m. lo­cal time and Vonn will be the third skier on the course.

A medal would bring Vonn full cir­cle: Her two sil­vers at the 2007 worlds in Are were the first ma­jor cham­pi­onship suc­cesses of her career. She also won the down­hill in Are at last year’s World Cup fi­nals.

“I have a lot of great mem­o­ries in Are,” Vonn said. “I re­ally feel Swe­den feels like home to me, very sim­i­lar like Min­nesota, flat and cold. I love it, it’s beau­ti­ful.” Af­ter­ward, it will be time to cel­e­brate.

“Oh yeah,” she said. “Full on, full gas, all day.”

ALESSAN­DRO TROVATI/ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE

Amer­i­can skier Lind­sey Vonn plans to re­tire after to­day’s race in Swe­den be­cause of knee in­juries but she plans to go for a medal in her fi­nal com­pe­ti­tion.

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