Beyond Vonn and Goggia, challengers hope for a downhill upset

Winter Olympics- Vonn joins star exodus from team event

But it's always an honor to race with Lindsey Vonn ...

Goggia entered Wednesday's race ranked No. 1 in the World Cup downhill standings.

She'd only started skiing World Cups in February 2016, in fact.

Goggia was behind at the top, but found another speed near the bottom.

Starting seventh in the field of 39 racers, Vonn hit speeds of almost 70 miles per hour as she scorched down the mountain. "I just have a different understanding for life back then".

Downhill World Cup leader Sofia Goggia appears to be the main threat to Vonn's hopes and the Italian was not too far off the pace in 1:41.28, the 11th fastest time.

Knight said before this season that Vonn was competing at "50 to 60 percent" of her physical ability. I thought I had the turn finished sooner than I did and I lost elevation. 'Usually I'm really chaotic but I wanted to take in every little detail, every particular in the morning. The American was looking at a higher finish before Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway turned in a surprise silver-medal performance as the 19th racer on the course. "My body just probably can't take another four years".

The American skiing star ended up tied with Italy's Federica Brignone for sixth in the event, which saw the Czech Republic's Ester Ledecka beat Austria's Anna Veith by one one-hundredth for the gold. She and Vonn are assured of being picked for the four-woman USA downhill team, and Alice McKennis earned a spot by having the best time of other contenders Monday, arriving ninth overall.

But the last one was special, and in so many ways.

The American, who won the giant slalom last week, showed again that she will be a force to be reckoned with by setting the fifth fastest time of 1:41.01, also missing the same gate as Vonn.

"But you can't get too sentimental right now because I still have to race". But it's all made me who I am.

"I think maybe I pushed maybe a smidge more yesterday because there was talk of only having two training runs, but once they confirmed that there would be three and we would race as planned on Wednesday, then I backed off a bit and focused more on the line".

More poignantly, the initials "DK" were written on her racing helmet, in memory of Don Kildow, the grandfather and Korean War vet who helped inspire her determination and who died in November.

Vonn has dedicated these Olympics to him, and mentioned him in an Instagram post Friday night.

"It really depends on what Sofia chooses, I'm picking right behind her so I would like to start behind her", she said.

"I think I overshot it - I kind of landed it, but I kind of fell", Nagasu told NBC after the program. "To have my family here as well, we're all very emotional". After the race was over, Vonn took to Twitter to express her frustration for the outcome of the race.

Vonn won downhill gold in Vancouver eight years ago and, after missing the chance to defend it in Sochi because of one of the many injuries that have scarred her career, had hoped to reclaim the title in Pyeongchang. Vonn plans on racing in Thursday's Alpine combined, but the downhill is the biggest and baddest of Olympic skiing events. Reigning U.S. champion Bradie Tennell faced the unenviable task of skating first and fell uncharacteristically on her first combination jump.