By Rory Carroll
(Reuters) – Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin and Ted Ligety were named to join a host of promising young athletes at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang next month, U.S. Ski and Snowboard announced on Wednesday.
“We have a good mix of veterans, Olympic champions who know what it takes to win at the highest level, and new, younger talent,” Alpine director Patrick Riml said in a press release.
The Games in South Korea are expected to be the last for the 33-year-old Vonn, the most successful World Cup female skier of all time who won gold in downhill in Vancouver in 2010 but missed the Sochi Games in 2014 due to injury.
“I’m incredibly excited to be going to my fourth Olympics. I’ve been waiting for these Games since I was injured, before Sochi,” she said.
“I’m very proud to represent America, I’m proud to be on this team with so many amazing athletes, and I look forward to competing.”
The spotlight will also be on 22-year-old Shiffrin, who is currently poised to win her second consecutive World Cup overall title.
She will be a favorite to add several medals to the gold she won in slalom in Sochi when she competes slalom, giant slalom, Alpine combined and super-G in South Korea.
“This has already been a wonderful season, and going to the Games is almost like the cherry on top of the cake,” she said.
“I will be taking it one event at a time, exactly as I do in the World Cup events.”
Two-time gold medalist Ligety, known as “Mr. GS” for his success in giant slalom, will look to defend his gold medal from Sochi at the Yongpyong Alpine Centre, where he won his first World Cup race in 2006.
“To be able to go to an Olympics where I actually had my first World Cup win ever, it’s really fun to be able to revisit that hill,” he said.
The team will also include veteran speed specialist Steven Nyman, who is battling back from a knee injury, two-time medalist Andrew Weibrecht, and promising first-time Olympians Bryce Bennett and Jared Goldberg.
(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)