Vonn ready to bow out on a high

Lindsey Vonn is experiencing plane issues en route to the Pyeong Chang Olympics. More

So when Shiffrin held a pre-Olympics news conference Saturday, 48 hours before the first of what could be five events for the American skiing star at the Pyeongchang Games, the initial question was not about her 2014 slalom gold medal or her five-race World Cup winning streak last month.

"It was very windy from behind on the track, I took the good wind with me, it blew me down!" said the 33-year-old Innerhofer.

At Vancouver in 2010, Vonn won the gold medal in the downhill, along with the bronze in the super-G.

Vonn smiled and kidded around for much of the half-hour Q-and-A, but her mood changed when she was asked about her grandfather, Don Kildow, who died in November.

Vonn's first race is scheduled for February 17 in the super-G. I really had hoped that he would be alive to see me, but I know he's watching and I know he's going to help me.

"I don't know which of you are sick; I'm just being safe", she told the media, noting that she also wore them on the plane over.

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. "I'm going to win for him". Four years later, she crashed in a downhill training in Torino and was hospitalized overnight, but came back to finish eighth in the race. "We have a turn going into a jump which is actually pretty rare, some nice terrain pieces and generally all the jumps are very big, so I think it's a great course".

"Being in a hotel room is often at times extremely hard".

Yet those two wins last weekend were the 80th and 81st of her career. "Even though he had more wins, he had a different schedule than her and had many more opportunities and different risk tolerance". "So I figured I'd need her for the most important event". "She enjoys sleeping a majority of the day. I know what I'm capable of, and I think I know how to handle myself better than I did".

"In Lenzerheide I was emotional and crying and frustrated and not really myself so that was a sign to me that I was just a little bit too exhausted", she said of her final giant slalom World Cup race before the Games, where she finished seventh.

"I have someone looking out for me", she said. I always have her with me.

"You're insane", Shiffrin replied.

Austria's defending Olympic champion Matthias Mayer said the course was "much easier" than the icy challenge that was the downhill in Sochi. As he raised his family on a farm in rural Milton, Wisconsin, he built a tiny ski hill with a tow rope.

Lindsey Vonn has had her run, but it's time for Mikaela Shiffrin now.

Vonn said her increased mental strength really comes into play when she's in the starting gate.

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