Vlhova withdraws from remaining races at Winter Olympics

BRATISLAVA, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- After winning gold in the Slalom at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics on Wednesday, Slovakia's alpine skier Petra Vlhova announced on Sunday that she will not participate in the Alpine Combined race, and would instead leave the Olympics earlier than planned.

The 26-year-old reigning FIS World Cup champion was planning to conclude her performance at the Winter Olympics on Thursday but due to an inflamed tendon in her ankle and feeling emotionally drained, she has decided to focus on the rest of the World Cup season instead.

"The inflamed ankle tendon got worse after the Olympic slalom race. It had already been affecting her preparation in the previous weeks. It started in November and now it has kept her from practising for the planned final race. Petra will return home to Slovakia to undergo treatment and share her win with her family, as well as gather strength for the remainder of the World Cup season," explained Vlhova's coach Mauro Pini.

Vlhova also stressed her mental fatigue. "This was not an easy decision. It's not just the ankle. I have wanted to win Olympic gold my whole life and now that I have, it has drained me mentally and physically. I have given it my all in the Olympic Slalom race and now I feel empty. I would not be able to focus in the Combined races and would probably be risking an injury. There is still a chance that I could defend my overall World Cup title. It would be a shame to let it slip," said Vlhova after announcing her decision.

Vlhova was planning to participate in four disciplines at the Olympics but only started in two, also finishing 14th in the Giant Slalom. Prior to the Beijing Games, she had already secured a Small Globe for winning the FIS World Cup Slalom discipline and trails America's Mikaela Shiffrin by 17 points in the overall standings.