COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colorado (AP) -- Lindsey Vonn eased into her first day of downhill training on Wednesday, with the four-time overall World Cup champion holding back on her opening run just to get used to that kind of speed again.
By her fifth and final pass at the U.S. Ski Team's speed center on Wednesday, Vonn was charging so hard through the two-mile course that she bent over in exhaustion soon after finishing, trying to catch her breath.
More and more, Vonn is feeling like her old self again as her surgically repaired right knee gets stronger.
The knee felt ''really good,'' Vonn said as she scrambled for the warmth of the lodge following the bitterly cold workout session.
The goal now?'' Get faster,'' she said. ''I need more miles.''
Vonn, who's preparing to defend her downhill title at the Sochi Olympics in three months, added: ''I feel fresh and training hard. Everything is perfect.''
The 29-year-old Vonn shredded her anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in a crash at the world championships in Schladming last February, but has progressed much faster than anticipated. She even thought about competing at the season-opening race in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 26, only to skip it to give her knee more time to recover.
Asked if there were any regrets about sitting out that competition, Vonn said: ''I was definitely disappointed. It's hard to say no for me. But I felt like I needed more time.''
These days, all of her decisions are based on one thing: Being in the starting gate at full strength for Sochi.
Vonn will make her return to the World Cup circuit in Beaver Creek later this month, with boyfriend and pro golfer Tiger Woods possibly even showing up to cheer her on.
''We'll see,'' Vonn said, laughing.
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