“It’s your time, Lindsey,” a U.S. ski Team staff member yelled out, invisible behind the start gate as bib 16 stood breathing harshly and staring out over the familiar downhill slope before her. Lindsey Vonn has raced in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, every year since 2004 aside for 2014 when she was injured. With nine wins on the track already, could she grab another to become the winningest World Cup downhill skier of all time?
She knew where she had to focus, telling reporters on Friday that the middle section was most important.
“There are the most dynamic turns where you really carry the speed to the finish,” she explained.
Vonn charged down the course, fighting the wind with only a few bobbles, ultimately winning her 74th World Cup race and setting a new record for World Cup downhill wins after surpassing Annemarie Moser-Proell with 37.
“The more people talk about the records the harder it is to break them. So I try to stay focused on skiing, and I thought I skied really well on the top and went a little too straight at the bottom, but still was able to pull it off,” Vonn said. “It’s always tricky with these conditions, you know. The wind was going back and forth, and some people got head wind and some people got tail wind and I’m just really happy that I was able to come away with another win and another record.”
The next record for Vonn to break could be the all-time wins record, currently held by the legendary Ingemar Stenmark with 86 victories.
“Stop talking about Ingemar!” she joked. “I need to just focus on tomorrow. One day at a time, one race at a time. I mean I can’t start calculating the numbers because it just gets in my head and it just makes it a lot harder than it needs to be. I just need to ski solid and not have any mistakes and then the results will come and then the records will come. But you can’t put the cart before the horse.”
Her initial lead was over a second, but Larisa Yurkiw of Canada and Lara Gut of Switzerland made sure to close the gap on the podium — 0.28 and 0.67 seconds off of Vonn. Yurkiw’s run, a repeat of her race at the venue last year, puts her in second place in the downhill standings though still trailing Vonn by 122 points. The performance by Gut was just good enough to keep her in the overall lead by a mere 10 points.
“I am happy about the way I ski, but this race is like that,” the Swiss skier explained. “It’s an outdoor sport. Sometimes you get lucky and you don’t get wind and other times (you’re) just trying to find a way into the finish. So it was a good day for me, and I hope tomorrow is going to be even better and wind is going to stop.”
Johanna Schnarf pulled through for the host nation, earning fifth — her best finish since Cortina last year. The next best Italian on the day was Verena Stuffer in ninth place, 1.75 seconds of the winning time.
Aside from Vonn, only one other American was able to scrape into the top 15, as Stacey Cook finished in 15th. Laurenne Ross and Jacqueline Wiles were 19th and 30th, respectively, while teammates Alice McKennis, Breezy Johnson and Anna Marno skied to 35th, 37th and 38th place.
The racing at Cortina d’Ampezzo continues on Sunday, Jan. 24 with the super G starting at 11:30 a.m. local time.
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by Hank Mckee
1. Vonn, Head/Head/Head
2. Yurkiw, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
3. Gut, Head/Head/Head
4. Weirather, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
5. Schnarf, Fischer/Fischer/Fisher
6. Miklos, Head/Head/Head
7. Kling, Head/Head/Head
8. Rebensburg, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
9. Stuffer, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
9. Puchner, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Women’s World Cup downhill Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, Jan. 23, 2016. … It is the 21st race of the women’s 41 race schedule … the fifth of nine scheduled downhills. … It is the 94th World Cup race hosted by Cortina … the 39th downhill. … Lindsey Vonn is the defending champion. … She has nine victories from Cortina, four of them downhills. … Picabo Street won twice and Julia Mancuso won the 2007 super G.
- It is the 74th career World Cup win for Lindsey Vonn, extending the women’s all-time record. … It is her 37th career DH victory, moving her out of a tie with Annemarie Moser-Proell to become the all-time leader in the category, men or women. … It is the 297th U.S. Cup win. … It is her seventh win of the season and third in DH. … It is her 10th win at Cortina matching Renate Goetschl’s all-time mark for wins at the site. Winning margin is 0.28 seconds. … Top three finishers are within the same second. … Top 14 within two seconds.
- It is the fourth career World Cup podium for Larisa Yurkiw, the third this season. … It is her second podium scored at Cortina, the previous coming Jan. 16, 2015.
- It is the 27th career World Cup podium for Lara Gut … her fifth of the season and second of the season in DH. … It is her third Cortina podium, first in DH.
- It is the fourth best result of the season for Stacey Cook … the 42nd time she has finished in the top half of a World Cup race. … Laurenne Ross matches her sixth best finish of the season and her eighth best at Cortina. …It is the 12th career World Cup score for Jacqueline Wiles. … Her sixth this season.
- Lara Gut leads the World Cup overall standings 810-800 over Vonn. … Frida Hansdotter (did not race) is third overall with 661pts. …
- Vonn leads the downhill standings 400-278 over Yurkiw. … Cornelia Huetter is third with 272pts. … Stacey Cook is ninth in the downhill standings with 132 pts.
- Austria leads the women’s Nations Cup standings 2628-2015 over Italy. … Switzerland is third with 1964pts. … The U.S. is fourth at 1590 and Canada ninth at 679.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points|
|52||52||465098||CAILL Ania Monica||1995||ROU||1:45.70||+8.69||111.97|