GANGNEUNG, South Korea — American skier Lindsey Vonn, who missed the Sochi Olympics because of a knee injury, has waited eight years to return to the Olympics and defend her downhill gold. That wait was extended by six hours on Thursday, when Vonn’s flight from Munich to Seoul was delayed due to a paperwork issue.
Vonn’s Lufthansa flight was originally scheduled to depart Munich at 4:10 p.m. local time but didn’t end up leaving until 10:26 p.m. It is now scheduled to arrive in Seoul at 10:37 p.m., 6½ hours later than its original time.
Vonn said passengers were told that the plane, an Airbus A340, needed a new document to fly. Fifteen planes of the same model were grounded around the world, she said they were told. Vonn and other passengers sat on the plane for three hours in Munich before deplaning. They then boarded another aircraft. It was also an A340. They were on that plane for an additional 90 minutes, she said, before finally taking off.
“I want to sleep so bad but I have to wait until we take off,” Vonn texted from the flight. “You never know what’s going to happen!”
Vonn said the flight included several Olympic athletes from Austria, Italy and Germany, including German flag-bearer Eric Frenzel. The opening ceremonies for the Pyeongchang Games are scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. local time Friday (6 a.m. ET).
Vonn is scheduled to meet with the international media Friday afternoon in Pyeongchang before walking in the opening ceremonies. Her first scheduled event, the Super G, is not until Saturday, Feb. 17.
The four-time Olympian said Thursday she had not been chosen to be the American flag-bearer. The United States has not yet formally announced who will carry the flag for the opening ceremonies.
As her King Charles spaniel, Lucy, slept at her feet through the delay, Vonn used the extra downtime to interact with fans on Twitter. Told that her flight delay had become an international news incident, she replied, “Hahahaha. I’ll make it.”