Lindsey Vonn’s Olympics is over after she skied out of the women’s slalom, her last event in Vancouver.
Vonn straddled a gate in the first half of her run Friday. She could not correct her line after her right, outside ski slid away coming out of a left-hand turn.
She skied down to the finish area and smiled ruefully. “I don’t know what’s going on,” she said.
“I went out there fighting and it just wasn’t my day,” said Vonn, who won two medals at the games but failed to finish three of her five races.
She won her gold medal as an overwhelming favorite in her signature downhill event, and took the bronze in the super-G.
“I’m totally satisfied with everything I have done here. I have the gold medal I came here for,” Vonn said. “Everybody had a lot of expectations of me and you just have to stay realistic. You have to keep in perspective what your goals are.”
Her biggest rival and best friend, Maria Riesch of Germany, said Vonn should go home happy from the Olympics.
“She did a great games here. She killed the downhill,” said Riesch, who won gold in super-combined and led the slalom after the first run.
Vonn was expected to be a medal contender in all five events. She was a key part of NBC’s promotional campaign and was on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s preview issue.
However, as the games progressed Vonn appeared unlikely to medal in slalom. She struggled in the event on the World Cup circuit this season even before a series of injuries this month.
She skied Friday with a broken right pinkie that was protected by a hard plastic casing covered by a mitten. She also had back pain from a crash in Wednesday’s giant slalom. In addition, Vonn has been troubled by a sore right shin from a Feb. 2 training spill in Austria that prevented her from practicing quick turns through slalom gates.
Asked why she bothered to race the slalom, given her injuries, Vonn said, “That’s just my personality. I never want to give up.”
Vonn crashed out of the slalom portion of the super-combined when she was poised to win a medal, having led after the downhill run. She then failed to finish the first run in GS.
The 25-year-old from Vail, Colo., failed to complete a two-run slalom in each of her last three races before the Olympics, and had a single top-three finish in seven slalom events this season.
She last won a slalom in January 2009, at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
Riesch said Vonn’s confidence in slalom was “not so good, because she didn’t finish many runs.”
Vonn is the two-time World Cup overall champion and will now focus on defending her title, despite the injuries.
“It’s something that I can fight through,” she said. “At this point I’m looking forward to the next two weeks of the season where I’m fighting for my third overall title.”
Vonn is scheduled to arrive next week in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, where she can clinch the season-long downhill and super-combined discipline titles.
Her season is scheduled to end the week after in Garmisch — Riesch’s hometown.