I watched the SG this morning, and part of the DH yesterday.
Vonn is clearly the dominant racer in speed events, and arguably - with her newfound prowess in slalom - the dominant overall racer. As for next year: though there's sometimes a tendency for someone in her position to ease off, the Olympics are likely going to motivate her to work even harder this summer and fall than she has in the past. She's still relatively young and (absent the hand) in good shape injury-wise. I wouldn't be surprised if she does a bit of a crash course (perhaps not the ideal phrase) in GS going into next year. If that pays off to the extent she can pick up significant points in a fourth event, she will be very hard to compete with in the overall.
- I'm not sure I totally agree with the "Everyone on the girls' circuit" thought. Hosp was essentially out for the season. She came back only recently, and was very rusty. Such will not be the case next year. Schild was also out.
- Some new youngster springing up as a rival. Women tend to burst on the scene like phenoms a bit more than men do. One who already exists, but is, at this point, wildly inconsistent, is Lara Gut. Plus, some Austrian might suddenly pop out of relative obscurity.
- Olympic pressure. Vonn has historically been a tad fragile psychologically. Not terrible, but a little bit. That seems to be history at this point, but the media hype and self-imposed pressure associated with the Olympics will be a strain. Particularly for Vonn, since: the Olympics are for once in an American time zone; for an American athlete, the relative importance of the Olympics vs. the World Cup is skewed, in terms of fame and fortune; those few days at Whistler will likely be the single greatest shot she will ever have in her life.
- I suspect a big part of what's keeping her psychologically centered is her husband. I hope the US Ski Team has some stellar marriage counselor in the wings in case he ever says, "What, take-out again?" or she asks him how her new Spyder suit looks.