Lindsey Vonn won her second FIS Alpine Ski World Cup downhill of the weekend – and the 81st victory of her career – in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in a perfect dress rehearsal for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
It was the third successive win on the International Ski Federation (FIS) World Cup tour for the 33-year-old American, winner of the Olympic downhill title in 2010 and who is now closing on Ingemar Stenmark’s all-time record of 86 World Cup wins.
But she needed all her powers of concentration to re-focus herself having broken down in tears during the previous day’s racing when her young United States team-mate Jacqueline Wiles was airlifted off the mountain after sustaining an injury that put her out of Pyeongchang 2018.
Another of Vonn’s American teammates, Stacey Cook, crashed today and was taken off the hill on a sled.
There was no immediate news on her condition.
“Two wins is as good as it gets, really,” Vonn told Associated Press.
She plans to compete in downhill, super-G and the combined event at Pyeongchang 2018.
“It has really been the exact preparation that I was hoping for going into South Korea,” Vonn said.
As in yesterday’s race, Vonn beat Italy’s Sofia Goggia for the win.
Vonn clocked 1:37.92 on the Kandahar course to beat her rival by 0.11 seconds, having beaten her by just 0.02 seconds the day before.
Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein was a hundredth of a second further behind in third.
Winning another Olympic medal – after taking downhill gold at Vancouver 2010 but missing Sochi 2014 because of a knee injury – has been Vonn’s declared goal all season.
After Pyeongchang 2018, though, Vonn’s focus will shift back to a winning record in the sport that has long been regarded as unbeatable.
“You get a little greedy,” she said.
“Once you keep winning, you want to win more.
“For sure, I will ski another season and see how high I can get the number.
“I know I can continue to win, I just don’t know for how long.
“I keep racking them up for as long as I can and we will see what number I can get to.”
Vonn has recovered from a rough start to her season, which saw her crashing twice at the Lake Louise resort, and dealing with back and knee problems.
“I have really picked up a lot of momentum,” she said after today’s win.
“I feel really good physically, mentally.
“And everything is working well, my equipment is working well, my preparation is perfect.
“It really couldn’t be better going into the Olympics.”
Vonn trailed Weirather by 0.30 seconds halfway down the course but found the fastest line in the turning final section.
The American’s lead came under threat a few minutes later. Goggia was ahead by 0.04 seconds at the second and 0.07 at the fourth split time, but failed to match Vonn’s pace on the bottom part of the hill.
By Mike Rowbottom
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.