World Cup return harder than I expected, admits Vonn

Skiing icon Lindsey Vonn

A ninth-placed finish in Saturday’s downhill was an improvement for Lindsey Vonn, but she says she well short of her World Cup best.

Lindsey Vonn admitted her return to the FIS Alpine World Cup has been harder than she expected following a miserable run of injuries.

Vonn made her competitive comeback in Cortina d’Ampezzo on Friday and was in action again on Saturday, the four-time overall champion rising six places to finish ninth in the second downhill.

A knee ligament sprain delayed her start to the 2018-19 season, and she is yet to reach a level where she can fight for a podium place.

The greatest female skier of all time only needs five wins to break Ingemar Stenmark’s record of 86 World Cup victories, but she concedes that she is a long way from achieving that.

“I’m just doing the best I can. It’s a little bit tougher than I expected,” she told reporters in Italy

“I definitely don’t trust my right leg as I need to and I can’t create the power that I need to. But today was a step in the right direction. Still not my best — far from my best.

“I always hope to win races, and when you come down and you’re 1.2 off the lead, it’s not exactly a really positive experience.

“But at the same time, of course, I had fun, and I love being in the starting gate, and I love pushing myself.

“It’s just not quite enough in these last two races. But I still have tomorrow, and I still have a lot more races this season. It’s just taking me a lot longer to get up and running than I expected.”

Vonn will compete in her first super-G race of the season in Cortina on Sunday, but she will need to undergo intensive recovery to ensure she is ready.

“I just have to get the swelling out of my knee and keep my quad muscle activated,” she added.

“When there’s that much swelling it’s difficult to keep the muscles going and make sure they’re not atrophying.

“It’s a pretty extensive process. I could complain about it all I want but it’s not going to change anything. You’ve just got to deal with it.

“I’ve dealt with a lot of pain in my life but this is a bit of a different situation. It’s not going to feel good and I have to find a way to grind it out.”