The downhill is typically one of the premier events on the Olympic slate, and this year's was shaping up to be especially memorable, pitting Vonn, one of the most decorated female ski racers ever, against Mikaela Shiffrin, the face and future of women's Alpine skiing. "If I'm nervous then I'm going to lose anyway, so what's the point?" Those are only from the last three years.
Goggia won the women's downhill Wednesday at Jeongseon Alpine Center and Vonn earned bronze.
"Today was a really good day", she said. "I feel like I am going to erupt as soon as I get it".
As always Austria has a challenger with Cornelia Huetter's win at Lake Louise on the World Cup circuit in December, a warning that she could be an outside threat, as could Switzerland's Michelle Gisin.
She insisted that wasn't the case.
"It's 99.9 percent sure I won't", said the American. That leaves them both in good position to come up with gold heading into the free skate Friday.
Goggia finished in a time of 1 minute, 39.22 seconds to hold off Mowinckel by 0.09 seconds. After finishing sixth in super-G, she trailed Goggia by nearly half of a second to take away the downhill bronze.More news: White House Press Secretary Dodges Questions On Russia's Election Meddling
Goggia or Vonn. Vonn or Goggia.
"I didn't act like I was the favorite. Only slightly bummed I'm not skiing it today cause we have 4 girls who are ready to hammer down and I can't wait to watch!"
"I knew I had a competitive time, but I didn't know if it would be enough for gold", Goggia said. "And I want to give back, I want to see the next generation of ski racers raise the level of our sport". I still have to be focused.
She at least broke the record for oldest female medallist in alpine skiing, previously held by Austrian Michaela Dorfmeister when she won the super-G in 2006. It wasn't a deterrent so much a reminder.
"I gave it my best shot", Vonn said through tears during an interview with NBC after the race, "I'm so proud". And maybe I was just a little bit too clean, a little bit too precise with the line. Then she realized she had to go and she did. At age 33, she became the oldest Olympian to win an Alpine medal.
Her thrilling run in bib 19 knocked Tina Weirather out of the medals and deprived the Liechtensteiner of a second bronze to add to the one she won behind Ledecka in the super-G. He started a ski club and passed his love for skiing on to Vonn. "But my body can't take four more years", she said.
It is not. Vonn will compete again Thursday, taking on USA teammate Mikaela Shiffrin in the Alpine combined. Two months later she suffered the second tibial plateau knee fracture of her career, this one requiring a plate and 11 screws to rebuild and knocking her out of the Sochi Olympics.
"But that's what makes life interesting, what makes you appreciate all of the moments like this because I've been through the hard times".