Between Lindsey Vonn’s previous 35 downhill wins, her rare experience previously running a two-run sprint downhill and her 2011 victory at Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria, Vonn came into Saturday’s World Cup race with a strong case for victory. She won in front of 6,200 awestricken spectators – proving she’ll continue her crusade as the winningest woman in World Cup history and tying Annemarie Moser-Proell of Austria for most career downhill wins.
What unique circumstances for Vonn to reach that milestone in a two-run sprint downhill unlike most fans have ever seen. She skied smooth and fast to nearly a one-second lead in the first run.
“With two runs, I figured if I was behind in the first run, I could you know maybe ski a little more aggressively in the second, but I think my tactic is just ski the same exact way in the second run,” Vonn indicated between runs.
Her plan for consistency – something that is arguably part of her DNA as a racer – worked out once again. And it was to her benefit in the hunt for the overall title that current points leader Lara Gut skied out in the opening run.
“Second run, I was a little bit more conservative because I knew I had a big lead, and I knew that everyone was having trouble with the bumps, so I just tried to ski relaxed and it worked,” she said.
Vonn added that it’s incredible to be tied with Annemarie Moser-Proell for another record, who she described as a legend. She’s taking the excitement into the super G and the return of traditional one-run speed competitions.
“I like the format … I did it once before in Are (Sweden) in 2002, which was a long time ago, but it’s interesting. I think it’s a good option if there’s bad weather or we don’t have enough snow. I think it’s better to have a sprint downhill than no downhill at all. But, to be honest, I think the classic downhill is better, mostly because I can sleep in,” Vonn said, getting a chuckle at the press conference.
“I think I made a lot of mistakes, but I’d way rather have a run that I’m making mistakes and trying than ski a little bit safer and more conservative and then be top 10 or something,” Yurkiw said. “It’s just not my style.”
Rounding out the podium under worsening conditions was Cornelia Huetter, earning her fourth podium of the season by finishing in third place.
“The second run was so hard and the visibility was so bad, and it was really bumpy and it was more out of control skiing, but I hoped that, yeah, I am on the podium and I am really happy about it,” she said, after surviving the course twice that took out top skiers like Gut and also Tina Weirather of Lichtenstein.
While Gut and Weirather escaped uninjured, Lotte Sejestersted of Norway had to be helicoptered off the course during first run after a massive crash. She reportedly tore the ACL and MCL in her left knee and will return home to Norway for surgery.
There were a few Americans in addition to Vonn who were able to put the hammer down. Stacey Cook made the first page of the results, coming in eighth place, while teammates Laurenne Ross and Alice McKennis came in 18th and 26th, respectively.
The racing continues tomorrow with super G, where Vonn will look for her first win at this replacement venue while Gut will seek to repeat her win from 2011. The first racer kicks out of the gate at 11:30 a.m. CET.
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by Hank McKee
- Vonn, Head/Head/Head
- Yurkiw, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
- Huetter, Volkl/Tecnica/Marker
- Kling, Head/Head/Head
- Schmidhofer, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Rebensburg, Stoeckli/Tecnica/Atomic
- Bailet, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
- Cook, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
- Goergl, Head/Head/Head
- Marsaglia, Volkl/Fischer/Marker
- Women’s World Cup sprint downhill (two runs) Zauchensee, Austria, Jan. 9, 2016. … It is the 16th of 41 races on the women’s schedule and a replacement race for the downhill originally scheduled at St. Anton and cancelled due to a lack of snow. … It is the fifth of nine scheduled downhills for the women. … It is the 29th World Cup race hosted by Altenmarkt-Zauchensee … the 13th downhill and first sprint downhill.
- It is the 72nd World Cup victory for Lindsey Vonn, extending the all-time record for women and closing in on Stenmark’s all-time mark of 86 wins. … It is her 36th downhill win, matching Annemarie Moser-Proell’s all-time mark. … It is her fifth win of the season and third in downhill. … It is the 295th U.S. World Cup victory.
- Larisa Yurkiw matches her career best from Cortina, also in downhill, Jan. 16 of last season. … It is her third career podium placing, and second of the season after a third in Val d’Isere Dec. 19.
- It is the fifth career podium for Cornelia Huetter, her fourth third-place result, and her third podium in downhill. … It is her fourth podium of the season in six completed races.
- It is the 23rd career World Cup top 10 for Stacey Cook … her second of the season. … It is the sixth scoring result of the season for Laurenne Ross, the third best of the season. … It is the fourth scoring result of the season for Alice McKennis, all in downhill.
- Lara Gut (DNF 1st) holds World Cup overall standings lead 658-600 over Vonn. … Frida Hansdotter (did not race) is third overall with 521pts. … Mikaela Shiffrin (did not race) is ninth overall with 296pts.
- Vonn leads the downhill standings 300-250 over Huetter. … Fabienne Suter (did not race) is third with 200pts. … Cook is eighth at 116pts.
- Austria leads the women’s Nations Cup standings 2043-1558 over Switzerland. … Italy is third with 1426pt and the U.S. fourth at 1302. … Canada is eighth with 525pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|57||465098||CAILL Ania Monica||1995||ROU|
|46||206548||MAGG Ann Katrin||1994||GER|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|27||425880||SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth||1991||NOR|