February 13, 2015

BEAVER CREEK, Colo. (AP) Lindsey Vonn traded in her ski boots for dancing shoes as she attended a party Thursday night where the guest of honor was none other than herself.

A chance to unwind with her world championships now complete since she's skipping the slalom. It's been an exhausting two weeks for Vonn that's produced one medal (bronze in the super-G), a tender right knee (thank the bumpy course for that) and a few tears as the pressure of wanting to do well in front of the hometown wore on her.

''I tried my hardest,'' said Vonn, who arrived at a party in Vail, Colorado, thrown to toast not only her medal at worlds but becoming the all-time winningest female World Cup racer earlier this season. ''Even though I didn't get as many medals as everyone expected me to, I'm still happy with my performance.''

Ever since a second knee surgery kept her out of the Sochi Games, Vonn's been looking forward to these world championships, treating it almost like the Olympics she didn't get to attend last February.

The Beaver Creek course appeared well-suited for Vonn, too. A home-slope advantage for sure.

Only, Vonn knew better. It was too twisty and technical. Not only that, but the course turned more and more icy and bumpy as the days wore on, which didn't sit well with her right knee.

''My meniscus has taken a pretty bad beating,'' Vonn said. ''It's probably going to be like that forever. Thankfully I don't race on ice very often. It should be OK rest of season.''

This course fit the likes of Tina Maze of Slovenia and Anna Fenninger of Austria way better - technical skiers who made themselves right at home on the tight terrain. That's why Vonn's not surprised Maze and Fenninger each have two gold medals and a silver so far.

''Those two can turn with the best of them,'' Vonn said. ''I knew they were going to be big contenders. This isn't a gliders' downhill.''

Still, Vonn insisted the hill wasn't in her head even if she struggled at times to find her rhythm.

''The icy conditions were just hard for me,'' Vonn said. ''I felt like in all the races, I was mentally on my game. I was ready and confident, from doing so well in the World Cups. Mind over matter didn't work. When I got on the ice, it didn't work.''

Vonn's last race of the championships was a 14th place finish in the giant slalom. She struggled in the first run before finding speed in the second, finishing 3.22 seconds behind Fenninger's winning time.

When she finished her last run, Vonn blew kisses to the crowd. Even boyfriend Tiger Woods smiled as he watched from the sideline. If she had a mulligan, Vonn insisted she wouldn't have done anything different leading up to these championships.

''I maybe just wanted to do well too much,'' Vonn said.

Here are things to know heading into the men's giant slalom on Friday:

GOOD PODIUM BETS: It seems like some combination of American Ted Ligety, Austria's Marcel Hirscher and France's Alexis Pinturault always winds up on the podium in the giant slalom. That's the way it was in a World Cup giant slalom race at Beaver Creek in December, with Ligety taking first, Pinturault second and Hirscher third.

TED'S TIME: Ligety won three gold medals two years ago in Austria. He couldn't defend his super-G crown in Beaver Creek, though, with Hannes Reichelt of Austria taking the title. Ligety didn't defend his Alpine combined title, either, as Hirscher won the event (Ligety took bronze). He has one last chance to defend a crown - the giant slalom, which is Ligety's signature event. He won Olympic gold in the discipline at the Sochi Games.

NO NERVES: The tension of racing in her backyard doesn't bother teenager Mikaela Shiffrin, who's from nearby Eagle-Vail. ''It's my job to perform,'' said Shiffrin, who finished eighth in the GS on Thursday. ''I love the hometown crowd. I don't feel any extra pressure to do anything here.''

FAST FENNINGER: Despite a mistake in her final GS run, Fenninger still won by 1.40 seconds over silver medalist Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany. ''I felt really good on my skis,'' Fenninger said.

TIRED TINA?: Right after finishing her run, Maze leaned over in exhaustion. Her pursuit of a fourth-straight medal at Beaver Creek worlds ended with a fifth-place finish in the giant slalom. ''My energy was not enough to be on the podium,'' she said.

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)