Pyeongchang 2018

It's over: a low-key Games on a far more human scale

It's over: a low-key Games on a far more human scale

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — The 2018 Winter Olympics shivered Sunday to a close, surely defined by cold and wind but destined — just as in Seoul 30 years before — to mark a key chapter in history on the Korean peninsula.

These Games are likely to be recalled as an inflection point in Olympic history, too. After logistical dramas and more at Rio 2016 and Sochi 2014, the Olympic scene needed a Games at which the venues were built, the buses ran on time, security was subtle, the volunteers were super-friendly -- organizationally, everything more or less just worked -- and the spotlight shone on the athletes and their stories of inspiration.

That’s what PyeongChang delivered.

A low-key Games on a far more human scale.

For more, please visit NBCOlympics.com: http://bit.ly/2HKT3hn

A reflective Vonn on her Olympic life: 'I gave it absolutely everything I had'

A reflective Vonn on her Olympic life: 'I gave it absolutely everything I had'

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Contemplative and reflective, Lindsey Vonn on Friday wrapped up her competitive Olympic life by saying, “I gave it absolutely everything I had.”

Describing her two races at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, she said, “I didn’t ski nervous. I skied with passion and with my heart.” In a reference to the bronze medal she won in the downhill, she said, “A bronze honestly does feel like gold to me.” And, she said, “It has been an amazing Olympics and a great way to close out my career — in the Olympics.”

Vonn, 33, is assuredly going to keep ski racing. She is five wins behind the all-time mark for World Cup victories, 86, held by Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark. She said she plans to race next in mid-March at Are, Sweden. “I’m not going to stop ski racing until I break it,” she said of Stenmark’s record.

For more, please visit NBCOlympics.com http://bit.ly/2onE1WI

Maybe the most important medal Mikaela Shiffrin ever wins: this silver

Maybe the most important medal Mikaela Shiffrin ever wins: this silver

JEONGSEON, South Korea — Both Mikaela Shiffrin and Lindsey Vonn raced the Alpine super-combined on Friday, the first time the two American skiers competed against each other at the Olympics, and almost surely the last. 

The experts made Shiffrin the pre-race favorite for gold. For Vonn, medal prospects were akin to — in her words — Russian roulette

Shiffrin didn’t win. She did, after a hard-charging slalom, take silver. Vonn, leader after the downhill, hooked a tip in slalom, and skied out, meaning no medal of any sort.

This silver may, when all is said and done, be one of the most important medals Mikaela Shiffrin ever wins. You saw in it real joy. You saw in it leadership. She is, going forward, the face of the U.S. ski team, and the way she embraced that silver means she and the American program have reason to celebrate.

“To have two medals at the Olympics — that’s insane,” Shiffrin said.

For more, please visit NBCOlympics.com: http://bit.ly/2GBlzRf

Lindsey Vonn shows how to win bronze

Lindsey Vonn shows how to win bronze

JEONGSEON, South Korea — The United States has a fixation at the Olympics on winning gold. Lindsey Vonn showed Wednesday how to win bronze. 

Before they pointed their skis down the mountain, Italy’s Sofia Goggia, Vonn’s friend and No. 1 rival in the Olympic downhill, was asked who she — Goggia — thought was the favorite.

Vonn, Goggia said. “It’s like she has already made this. She knows how to do this.”

Goggia, instead, was the one who knew Wednesday how to do it better. 

For more, please visit NBCOlympics.com: http://bit.ly/2FhMHoQ

Lindsey Vonn: eight years for 100 seconds

Lindsey Vonn: eight years for 100 seconds

JEONGSEON, South Korea — It will take Lindsey Vonn 100 seconds, more or less, to ski the Olympic downhill on Wednesday. It has taken her eight years to get back to this moment. Take it in. Appreciate it. Appreciate — her.

The three training runs here at the Jeongseon downhill course suggest that Vonn is in excellent position for a medal. Of course, in alpine racing, nothing — nothing — can be taken for granted.

When Vonn crosses the finish line, whether she wins gold or any medal, or like her super-G run earlier at these Olympics that left her off the podium, her race will mark the end of an era for American alpine racing. 

“It’s all or nothing,” she said after Tuesday’s training run. “There’s nothing to be nervous about or think about pressure or expectations. Either I win or I lose.”

For more, please visit NBCOlympics.com:http://bit.ly/2Fic6yA

Lindsey Vonn back at an Olympics where 'anything can happen'

Lindsey Vonn back at an Olympics where 'anything can happen'

JEONGSEON, South Korea — For the first time in eight years, Lindsey Vonn was skiing at the Olympics.

Her return Saturday to the Olympic stage, in the women’s super-G, marked the latest chapter in a story that has seen her endure pain that would break almost anyone and everyone else. 

You want your little girls and boys to grow up with fighting spirit? To dare to dream and dream as big as possible? To never, ever give up? 

We present you Lindsey Vonn. 

In Saturday’s race, Lindsey did not win a medal. She had a big slip late in the race. If not for the fifth- to perhaps eight-tenths of a second that she gave up in that slip, Lindsey wins. But no. 

Ester Ledecka of the Czech Republic won the race, literally by one-hundredth of a second. Austria’s Anna Vieth, the Sochi 2014 super-G winner, running 19th and back from knee injury, thought she had defended her title. Then Ledecka, the 2017 snowboarding parallel giant slalom champion, who had never — repeat, never — made a World Cup ski podium, 26th Saturday out of the gate, somehow summoned super-G magic.

For more, please visit NBCOlympics.com: http://bit.ly/2EKLlFk

Shiffrin: "I beat myself the wrong way today"

Shiffrin: "I beat myself the wrong way today"

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Alpine racing is brutally difficult and especially unforgiving. On any given race day, a dizzying array of variables may come into play: weather, light, snow, wind, wax and more. 

Not to mention the weight of pressure, expectation and history.

It’s enough to make anyone upchuck. Even Mikaela Shiffrin. Who did exactly that Friday before the first of the two runs that make up the Olympic slalom.

“I guess everybody knows now, after puking before the first run,” Shiffrin would say after Friday’s racing had concluded and the scoreboard said she had taken fourth in her signature event, the slalom, “you know, that was me -- I don't know, it wasn’t even pressure, really, nerves. It's just -- I beat myself the wrong way today.”

For more, please visit NBCOlympics.com: http://bit.ly/2oaJsrd

Mikaela Shiffrin, with "nothing to lose," wins Olympic giant slalom gold

Mikaela Shiffrin, with "nothing to lose," wins Olympic giant slalom gold

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — As the late, great Tom Petty said, the waiting is the hardest part. 

Mikaela Shiffrin made it look — almost — easy. 

Confronted with weather-related delays that pushed back the start of her 2018 Winter Games. the American ski star captured the keen mental edge it takes to ski on the edge, but not beyond, to win Olympic gold in the women's giant slalom.

In Sochi, an 18-year-old Shiffrin won gold in slalom but finished fifth in GS. She vowed to become No. 1 in GS, too. 

Turning 23 next month, she is now a two-time Olympic champion, winner of a first medal for the United States in women’s giant slalom since Julia Mancuso's Torino 2006 gold. Shiffrin is also just the sixth woman in Olympic history to win gold in both the slalom and giant slalom, joining the likes of Andrea Mead-Lawrence of the United States and Croatia’s Janica Kostelić.

For more, please visit NBCOlympics.com: http://bit.ly/2GhF1Ca

No race yet for Shiffrin? No problem

No race yet for Shiffrin? No problem

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Disappointed at the postponement of Monday’s women’s giant slalom because of the weather?

Not Mikaela Shiffrin.

“It’s a bummer that we’re not able to race today," she said. "But with the training block I’ve had, I’m prepared and feeling good.

“I’ll use this time to continue to train and re-focus on Wednesday’s slalom race. We have a great gym and space to eat and take plenty of naps, so I’ll use this time to recharge.”

In a perhaps not immediately obvious way, postponement of the giant slalom — Shiffrin’s second-best event — may serve to further her overall medal prospects here at the PyeongChang Olympics.

For more, please visit NBCOlympics.com: http://bit.ly/2nSUn9C

Sometimes you do miss your shot

Sometimes you do miss your shot

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — This is what it’s like when you work so hard and you dream so big and it’s just not your night.

It hurts.

The United States has never won an Olympic medal in biathlon, the ski-and-shoot sport. Susan Dunklee won a silver last year at the world championships in Hochfilzen, Austria. Thus hopes were high that she might deliver Saturday night in the women’s 7.5-kilometer sprint. 

It was not to be. To be a contender in biathlon, you not only have to ski fast, you have to shoot well. The 7.5 km event involves 10 shots, five from a prone position, five standing up. Dunklee missed one of the first five, from the prone position, then — inexplicably — four of the final five.

For more, please visit NBCOlympics.com: http://bit.ly/2nYkew3