Vonn and boyfriend Subban go together like snow and ice

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ARE, Sweden (AP) — Of all the people flying in to attend Lindsey Vonn’s final race — her dad and two siblings, U.S. Ski Team top brass and even Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark — one very significant other will be missing.

P.K. Subban, Vonn’s boyfriend and a defenseman for the NHL’s Nashville Predators, has a game to play in Tennessee on Sunday hours after Vonn bids skiing goodbye in the downhill at the world championships in Sweden.

“I would’ve liked to be there for that and celebrate with her,” Subban told The Associated Press. “I’ve got to do the best I can to support her from afar.”

Earlier this season, when Vonn was out recovering from another in a long line of knee injuries, Subban kept Vonn’s spirits up when she couldn’t even bear to watch a ski race.

“It’s a great thing that I have such an upbeat boyfriend,” Vonn said. “He runs around in a pajama suit making me laugh and that takes my mind off of things. He’s just always positive and happy and maybe a little too energetic at times. But it definitely helped me mentally to be in Nashville and be around him and not focus so much on skiing but just getting healthy and working as hard as I can.”

After divorcing from retired skier Thomas Vonn, Vonn dated Tiger Woods and then NFL coach Kenan Smith .

She and Subban went public with their relationship in June when they walked the red carpet together at the CMT Music Awards in Nashville. Then on July 4th, Subban tweeted a photo of him and Vonnwearing the same U.S.-flag themed women’s bathing suit, asking “who wore it better?”

One of the biggest personalities in hockey, Subban — or “the Subbanator” as he is nicknamed — hosted a TV special after the NHL’s All-Star Skills competition last month, featuring him telling jokes in an opening monologue, talking with some guests and some taped segments.

He also started a digital series called “The P.K. Project” to give viewers a look at his personal life. On the first episode, he had Vonn on a video call while visiting his family — revealing that he’s not the only one in the relationship who goes by initials, with his mom referring to “that lovely L.V.”

Subban “has no idea about ski racing,” said Vonn, the women’s record holder with 82 World Cup wins, trailing only the overall record of 86 held by Stenmark.

“I’ve kind of tried to watch some video with him and he has absolutely no clue. He’s like, ‘I’ll be honest, I don’t care about skiing, I just care about you.’ And that’s kind of cute but it’s kind of annoying at the same time. But I don’t know much about hockey. All I know is forecheck. I don’t even know what that means, really.”

While it may seem strange that Vonn, who grew up in the hockey hotbed of Minnesota, knows so little about her boyfriend’s sport, she says it’s a result of the Minnesota North Stars’ move to Dallas in 1993.

“I grew up pretty much my whole childhood not having a hockey team,” Vonn said. “So just because I’m from Minnesota doesn’t mean I should know hockey.”

So which team does Vonn, who was living in Colorado when she started dating Subban, support? The Colorado Avalanche or Subban’s Predators?

“It’s Colorado. Well, I mean that’s the hard part,” she said. “When I moved to Colorado I watched the Avalanche win the Stanley Cup and I’ve been to a lot of Avalanche games but I can’t really say anything other than Nashville.”

Can Subban ski? “I think he can snowboard but that’s it,” Vonn said, adding that she has no plans to take him out on the slopes and endanger his career. “Oh no. He’s got a job to do. I’m not taking any risks on that one.”

Does Vonn skate? “Oh yeah. I’m from Minnesota.”

One other thing that Vonn and Subban have in common is Olympic gold medals.

Vonn talks to Subban on a video call during a news conference.

Vonn won the downhill at the 2010 Vancouver Games and Subban, who is from Toronto, was on Canada’s team that won the hockey tournament at the 2014 Sochi Games.

And they both compete in the cold.

“I wear my jacket in the stadium,” Vonn said. “He could have played tennis, or an indoor sport that was actually warm, that would have been helpful.”

The day after Vonn retires, she will fly to Nashville to see Subban — and begin her new life as a professional hockey fan.

“I’ll be there like every time now. It will be fun,” she said. “They got two new players the other day, everything looks great for them: Try to get the division title and go for the Stanley Cup. So I’ll be there cheering them on.”

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Walker reported from Nashville, Tenn.

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Olympic downhill champion Goggia plans return from injury

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CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy (AP) Olympic downhill champion Sofia Goggia is planning to return from injury this month but remains in doubt for the upcoming world championships.

A spokesman for the Italian Winter Sports Federation says Goggia will participate in downhill training in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, beginning Jan. 24 with an eye toward competing in downhill and super-G races at the German resort on Jan. 26 and 27, respectively.

Goggia broke a bone in her right ankle during a fall in giant slalom training in Hintertux, Austria, in October.

Goggia’s performance in Garmisch will determine if she competes at the worlds in Are, Sweden, which open Feb. 5.

Goggia won gold in downhill at the Pyeongchang Games last season, finishing ahead of Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway and Lindsey Vonn of the United States.

Goggia also won the season-long World Cup downhill title last season.

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Americans dark horses for most golds in Winter Olympics betting futures

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While Germany and Norway were 1-2 in gold medals the last time that a Winter Games was held in Asia, the reality of a reduced Russian presence is why the two European nations are expected to do so again at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

With the Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, due to officially begin on Friday, Norway is a narrow +150 favorite with Germany a +160 second favorite on the most gold medals futures board, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The countries are each listed at +175 to garner the most medals overall.

In gold medal props, the United States (+500) and Canada (+700) are the high-value outside shots. The prices are similar in overall medals futures: United States +400 and Canada +500.

The main question is how much Russia being marginalized due to doping scandals – it has been allowed to keep 29 medals from Sochi 2014, but the Olympic Athletes From Russia team will be lucky to reach half that – will open opportunities for other leading nations.

The working theory for taking Norway in either prop is the Scandinavian nation’s consistency – a minimum of nine golds in five of the last six Winter Olympics – and its depth in the few sports its masters. Norway is a lock to dominate cross-country skiing, while alpine skiers Kjetil Jansrud and Askel Lund Svindal will duel for downhill and super-G hardware.

A similar case can be made with Germany, which won the most golds during two of the last five Winter Olympics (Nagano 1998 and Torino 2006). Biathlete Laura Dahlmeier, with her primary rival dropping out, could be Phelps-on-snow with a chance at six gold medals. Germany is also poised to dominate the sliding center, with projections of a four-gold sweep in luge and two strong sleds in two-man and four-man bobsled.

With the Americans’ spread of talent across all 15 Winter Games sports and 102 events, the United States is worth a value play to win the most gold medals. The over/under on American golds is 10.5, which is certainly attainable, especially if the women’s hockey team, a -120 favorite against even-money Canada, is able to get the gold.

The over/under on golds for Canada is 8.5, but America’s northern neighbor has only exceeded the threshold twice, in 2010 and 2014. Between the NHL sitting out the men’s hockey competition and key injuries to stars – defending women’s ski cross champion Marielle Thompson hasn’t raced all winter and world champion alpine skier Erik Guay is out due to injury – it might be best to fade the Canadians.

For more odds info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.