Olympics: Shiffrin aims to fill Vonn's big boots
ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (AFP) - The absence of media princess and reigning Olympic downhill champion Lindsey Vonn has dominated the build-up to the women's alpine skiing programme at the Sochi Winter Games.
She attempted a brave comeback after suffering a horrendous injury at last year's world championships in Schaldming, but eventually halted her season after her re-built knee failed to respond as planned in Val d'Isere in December.
The Organisers, though of course wishing her sporting prowess was on show, will no doubt be breathing a huge sigh of relief that the paparazzi roadshow that accompanies Vonn and boyfriend Tiger Woods will be absent from the Russian hills.
Her place as the US team's likely medal getter has gone to 18-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin, who became the youngest American, at 17, to win world gold when she scooped the slalom crown after Vonn had been taken home from Austria.