Alpine skiing: Vonn joins other top names in shunning team event

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For 12 years, since she crawled out of a hospital bed after a wicked training crash to race the downhill at the Torino Olympics, Vonn has been a - if not the - mainstay of the USA ski team.

"I feel like it's 99.99 percent sure that I won't (compete in the Olympics again)".

But there was a farewell tone in Vonn's voice as well. It was the first time in 78 years of Olympic Alpine skiing there were double gold medals.

Vonn raced in seven World Cup downhill events this season, slowly finding her rhythm.

"No. 1 hasn't been a good number for me", Vonn said on the eve of her signature race. After Thursday's Alpine combined, a race in which she would need to "pull a rabbit out of a hat" to medal, she said, Vonn will set her sights on her pursuit of Ingemar Stenmark's record of 85 World Cup wins.

Although Austria's Anna Veith, the super-G silver-medal victor, has decided not to compete in the downhill, the Austrians always have a challenger with Cornelia Huetter's win at Lake Louise, in Canada, on the World Cup circuit in December, a warning that she could be an outside threat, as could Switzerland's Michelle Gisin.

Goggia has become one of Vonn's biggest rivals in the downhill, which Vonn - when healthy - has largely dominated since the Vancouver Games. As Vonn put it: "We just enjoy going fast and enjoy competing against each other". They bonded over their love of dogs - and ski racing.

"Of course there are going to be people that hate me", added Vonn, who revealed she was limiting her exposure to social media before racing.

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It's a cat-and-mouse game top skiers play in picking start numbers for speed races like downhill and super-G. Don't count her out at Pyeongchang just yet.

This particular track suits Goggia's aggressive skiing. The payoff was the fastest time in each of the three final timed intervals. Reigning U.S. champion Bradie Tennell faced the unenviable task of skating first and fell uncharacteristically on her first combination jump.

"She asked me how to deal with the pressure and expectation and I told her, which probably helped her", Vonn said after finishing third.

Looking charged with confidence as she exploded out of the start, Goggia really hit her straps in the mid-section of the run and produced a run that perfectly mixed her natural aggression with iron control. As far as more Olympic medals are concerned, she said she doubts her surgically repaired right knee will hold up long enough for her to compete in the 2022 Games in Beijing. But it was too late I think. There's, of course, going to be people that hate me and hope I ski off a cliff and die.

"I actually didn't want to win the training run today", Vonn said Sunday on NBC. In real life, most people wouldn't say that to me to my face. And she had a wonderful career and she is still having. "I have no regrets; I'm really happy; I'm especially happy and proud of my teammates".

Vonn captured the downhill gold at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, but didn't get a chance to defend it four years later when she sat out the Sochi Games after tearing ligaments in her right knee.

"I bet she'll be there", said team mate Breezy Johnson. "But the injuries have taken their toll". I've had a lot of ups and downs, mostly downs, in that time.