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Lindsey Vonn returns as the face of a talent-rich U.S. ski team

Nathan Fenno, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Olympics

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea -- Lindsey Vonn waited eight years to return to the Winter Olympics.

But the waiting continued when the U.S. Alpine skiing icon boarded a flight from Munich, Germany, to Seoul on Wednesday for the Pyeongchang Games.

Vonn, who missed the Sochi Olympics in 2014 because of an injured right knee, eventually had to switch planes. Then the replacement flight sat on the tarmac for six hours.

"Well hopefully we get to Korea," Vonn tweeted to more than 980,000 followers.

When she finally arrived -- the last U.S. athlete to go through team processing -- the journey had taken 24 hours. The long wait is almost over.

"I want to end on a high note," said Vonn, whose first race is the super-G on Feb. 17. "I want to put an exclamation point on my career."

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The three-time Olympian is the biggest name in the 11 days of Alpine competition in the windswept Taebaek Mountains.

Vonn, 33, won two World Cup downhill races in Germany last weekend, giving her 81 career victories. The all-time record is 86 wins, a mark she expects to surpass.

But Vonn is focused on the Olympics after a series of injuries the last four years. There's the right knee, a broken left ankle, hairline fracture in her left knee and broken right arm.

Finally healthy, Vonn will compete in the downhill, her best event for which she collected a gold medal at the Vancouver Games in 2010, super-G and combined. Her knee prevents her from trying the giant slalom.

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