SEOUL (Reuters) - Alpine skiier Lindsey Vonn thinks the downhill run for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics might suit her style as she targets the return of the blue riband title she won in Vancouver five years ago.
The 30-year-old American brushed aside questions about this week’s split with golfer Tiger Woods when she was presented as an ambassador of South Korea’s first Winter Olympics and instead focused on her on-piste ambitions.
“My goals for the next Olympics are to try to win gold medals,” she told a news conference in the South Korean capital on Thursday.
”In the last Olympics I competed in Vancouver and won the downhill. I hope to improve upon those results or, if not, to match them.
”The site looks very challenging, looks like the downhill will be very stiff with a lot of jumps, which I really like.
“So I am looking forward to see it with snow on and actually be able to run the course, but so far it looks very good.”
Vonn, also a former Super-G world champion, was robbed of her chance to defend her Olympic downhill title at the 2014 Sochi Games when she was forced to have two operations on her right knee.
She stormed back last season, however, to confirm her status as one of the greatest alpine skiiers of all time.
The downhill and Super-G season titles she secured gave her 19 in total, matching the record held by Swede Ingemar Stenmark, who is the only skier to have won more World Cup races (86) than Vonn’s 67.
“Injuries are definitely very tough, but I found over the course of my career in my life that whenever you have a setback, you just have to stay positive, and keep working hard and eventually things will turnaround,” she recalled
”Especially after my second knee surgery, there were a lot of bad days and a lot of pain and the rehabilitation was difficult but I kept my sight focused on skiing again.
“That’s what kept me through. So, if you are injured, you have to find the goal and find what motivates you to be healthy again and keep focusing on that.”
Vonn said she was delighted to have been asked to become an ambassador for the Pyeongchang Games.
“My goal, almost my entire career, I feel like has been to promote ski racing not just in America, but across the world, I think it’s an amazing sport,” she added.
“I will do my best to honor the Olympics spirit. Hopefully, it will encourage kids to participate in sports, especially in Asia and Korea.”
Vonn announced the end of her three-year relationship with Woods on Sunday and felt she had nothing to add to the statement she made then.
“Yeah, I don’t really want to talk about my personal life and I think everything is in my Facebook post,” she said.
Writing by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by John O'Brien