Mikaela Shiffrin and Lindsey Vonn head up a United States women's alpine ski team aiming to dominate the Pyeongchang Olympics, while Austrian Marcel Hirscher targets a first individual title. It's really hard for me not to cry.
On this chilly November morning, she isn't just a four-time overall World Cup champion or a head-turning magazine cover star. She was on the flight with other Olympic athletes from Austria, Italy and Germany including the German flag-bearer. And yes, part of it is the two-plus years she spent dating Tiger Woods.
The best slalom racer in the world, Mikaela Shiffrin, is now broadening her horizons to include downhill skiing in order to satisfy her need for speed.
Vonn, who says this will be her final appearance in the Olympics, will compete in three events at this year's games: downhill, super-giant slalom and combined events.
But she made a decision to sit out the giant slalom, saying that her knee "is just not really in a place to do that". Vonn beat her by only 0.11 seconds.
"For me, that was like a defining moment that I needed to take a step back and get a couple days of rest and then get back into training", Shiffrin said.
Vonn was only 17 in her first Games in 2002 in Salt Lake City. Several competitors at this year's games, including curler Nina Roth and women's hockey goalie Alex Rigsby, work day jobs to make ends meet, Money reported.
"She's a definitely a bigger star than me", said Vonn, unabashedly making goo-goo eyes at Lucy, as her faithful companion sat at the foot of stage, where the greatest downhill racer in US history took measure of all the big victories and painful injuries in her career.
The outspoken 40-year-old said that Shiffrin might have been better off taking a few weeks off coming into the Olympics to give herself a chance to rest before carrying the considerable medal expectations of American fans. During their phone call, she said she missed him.
"It took me until my third Olympics to figure out how to deal with the pressure". For much of the winter, family time is rare. "And I feel closer to him when I'm skiing". In December, her paternal grandfather, Don Kildow, died.
"She is usually in the hotel room whenever I'm racing".
"It's what I think about first thing when I wake up and what I think about when I go to sleep", she said. And I really had hoped that he would be alive to see me (at these Olympics). "But I know he's watching, and I know that he's going to help me, and I'm going to win for him". She has 20 World Cup crystal globe titles, making that the all-time record in both men's and women's skiing.