American Lindsey Vonn proved yet again today (Dec. 2) that she is one tough woman. The Olympic gold medalist threw aside recent personal turmoil to dominate the first women’s World Cup downhill race of the season in picturesque, but windy Lake Louise, AB.
Vonn, who announced on Sunday that she will split from her husband of four years Thomas Vonn, had her mind on racing alone today as she shredded the 3,068-meter course and crossed the line with a lead of more than seconds to take her ninth career victory in Lake Louise.
“It’s amazing to have the support of my teammates and everyone on the World Cup,” Vonn told FISalpine.com. “My sister came all the way from North Carolina and is definitely helping me. Everything came together for me today, and I hope I can keep it going this weekend, but I’m just happy to be back racing Downhill.”
It was a star spangled day in North America as Vonn’s U.S. Ski Team teammate Bode Miller also won a downhill in Beaver Creek, Colo. The American duo accomplished the same rare feat at the onset of the 2005 season.
“I’m not really sure I’ll be able to do this again but I am going to try and do the same thing, go out there ski solid and have fun,” said Vonn. “I always feel pressure to win; I think it’s the most important thing for me. I know what I expect from myself and I try to do the best every day. But I didn’t really expect this today; I didn’t expect it at all. The most I have ever won was by 1.2 seconds in 2006, I think, and it was here in Lake Louise. I don’t know what to say, it’s unexpected but I am extremely happy.”
Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather came from the back of the pack (bib No. 40) to be the only racer to get within two seconds of Vonn with a time of one minute, 55.14 seconds. It is 22-year-old’s first World Cup podium.
Swiss Dominique Gisin, leader of the final training run yesterday, was 2.06 behind Vonn in third.
Just off the podium in fourth today was current World Cup overall leader, German Viktoria Rebensburg, who has 230 points. Vonn stands second with 222 points.
Another American tough racer, Alice McKennis, who was competing in her first World Cup race since breaking her leg early last season, had a great run down the course where she scored her first World Cup points to finish eighth today. The Glenwood Springs, Colo. native, ripped down the course in the No. 4 bib and held the number two spot through 10 racers, until being bumped by Gisin.
“It’s been such a long road for me and to be fast in my first race back is just an incredible feeling. I felt so much more comforatble today than I have in any of the training runs,” said McKennis. “I felt like I was skiing well, but I no idea that I’d come down in a decent position. I’m so pumped up for another day of downhill tomorrow.”
Julia Mancuso, winner of last season’s final downhill, lost speed in the middle and bottom of the course after a strong top section to finish 16th. Stacey Cook and Leanne Smith also scored for the U.S in 18th and 29th, respectively.
Wind at the top of the course challenged skiers on-and-off all day, though some shaved down jumps on this year’s course minimized the affect.
Vonn, who once said that she didn’t even need to inspect the Lake Louise course anymore after 26 competitive runs down it, collected her 43rd career World Cup win and second victory of the young 2012 season. She is now the third winningest woman in World Cup history.
Racing in Lake Louise continues tomorrow with a second downhill, followed by a super G Sunday. Similar overcast conditions are expected through the weekend with some snow possible.
Image by Gepa
by Hank McKee
Women’s World Cup Downhill, Lake Louise, CAN, Dec. 2, 2011
1 Vonn, Head/Head/Head
2 Weirather, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
3 Gisin, Dynastar/Lange/Marker
4 Rebensburg, Nordica/Nordica/Marker
5 Voglreiter, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
6 Stuhec, Voelkl/Tecnica/Marker
6 Recchi, Voelkl/Lange/Marker
8 McKennis, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
9 Hoefl-Riesch, Head/Lange/Head
10 Aufdenblatten, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
Women’s World Cup downhill, Lake Louise, CAN, Dec. 2, 2011. … It is the fourth race of the women’s 40 race 2011-12 World Cup schedule. … The first of nine scheduled downhills. … and the first of three races (two downhills and a superG) scheduled on consecutive days at Lake Louise. … It is the third Cup race held at Lake Louise this season (two men’s events were held previously) and the 83rd race at the site in Cup history. … the 52nd DH.
It is the 43rd career World Cup victory for Lindsey Vonn, extending her American record and moving her past Anja Paerson into fourth all time. … She is three wins from matching Renate Goetschl for third among women. … It is the 227th US World Cup win and the first time Americans have won two downhills (Bode Miller also won at Beaver Creek) since Dec. 3, 2004 when the same two skiers won at the same two locations. … It is the ninth Cup win for Vonn at Lake Louise, the eighth in DH at Lake Louise. … It is her second win of the season having also claimed the Soelden GS Oct. 22.
It is the first career World Cup podium for Tina Weirather. … She had not done better than 17th in a previous downhill. … It is the first Cup podium for Leichtenstein since Marco Buechel placed third in DH at Wengen Jan. 16, 2010.
It is the seventh career Cup podium for Dominique Gisin and fifth in DH. … It is the second time she has finished third in a DH at Lake Louise, the previous coming last season.
It is a career best Cup placing (by one place) for Alice McKennis. … It is her fourth top 15 result in DH scored at Lake Louise. … It is the 42nd best Cup DH result for Julia Mancuso. … It is her third scoring finish of the season. … It is the 22nd best World Cup result for Stacey Cook. … her fifth best of 11 scoring results at Lake Louise. … It is the 30th career scoring result for Leanne Smith.
Viktoria Rebensburg (4th in race) leads the World Cup overall standings 230-222 over Vonn. … Elisabeth Goergl (20th in race) is third with 151pts. … Marie-Michele Gagnon (did not race) is the top Canadian in 32nd place with 30pts. … Austria leads the women’s Nations Cup pts 677-429 over Germany. … The US is third with 402pts. … Canada is 11th with 48pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||FIS Points|
|34||23||425880||SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth||1991||NOR||1:56.85||43.01|
|36||3||495318||RUIZ CASTILLO Carolina||1981||SPA||1:56.99||44.65|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not finish 1st run|