Vonn wins second straight World Cup downhill
December 3, 2011
LAKE LOUISE, Alberta – Lindsey Vonn of the U.S. won a downhill for the second day in a row at Lake Louise on Saturday.
It was Vonn’s 10th career victory at Lake Louise, and the Olympic champion has more World Cup victories at this mountain resort west of Calgary than anywhere else.
The American superstar also won Friday’s downhill. On Saturday, she finished in 1 minute, 51.35 seconds to beat Marie Marchand-Arvier of France by 1.65 seconds. Elisabeth Goergl of Austria was third.
Afterward, a young girl asked Vonn to sign her forehead and the skiing star obliged.
“Kids come up with some crazy ideas with what they want me to sign,” Vonn said. “Mostly it’s hats and shirts, but a lot of times it’s cheeks, foreheads and arms. It’s really cute.”
When Vonn was a young skier, she asked Olympic champion Picabo Street to autograph a poster. Vonn recalled the impact that poster hanging on her wall had.
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“I try to do my best to keep the kids positive and smiling and encourage them to follow their dreams like Picabo did for me,” she said.
After dominating the downhills, the 27-year-old from Burnsville, Minn., is considered the woman to beat in Sunday’s super G.
“In another world,” reigning overall World Cup champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch said of Vonn. “There’s definitely nobody that can keep up with her at the moment in the downhills.”
Goergl agreed, adding: “She’s in her own league right now.”
The last woman to sweep three races at Lake Louise was Katja Seizinger of Germany in 1997.
“A sweep is very difficult to do,” Vonn said. “I have to see what the course is like, but the snow conditions are fantastic. I just have to try to go out and do the same thing I did yesterday and today, which is ski aggressively, execute the line and try not to make any mistakes.”
Vonn won last year’s super G at Lake Louise after finishing second in both downhills to Hoefl-Riesch. Vonn won both downhills in 2009, but Goergl took the super-G.
Vonn has stood on the podium 16 times at Lake Louise since her first career World Cup win in 2004.
Eight women did not complete the course Saturday. Several more struggled with the section called Fallaway, where they skied off course and either lost time or missed a gate.
“I think a lot of girls had trouble with the flat light,” Vonn said. “It was just really hard to see the terrain. All things considered, it was a great run. I’m just really happy to have another win here in Lake Louise.”
Fellow American Laurenne Ross crashed hard and was taken to hospital with facial lacerations.
Vonn won the season-opening giant slalom in Austria, last month, and has a firm grip on the overall World Cup lead early this season.
“It’s only the fifth or sixth race of the season, but so far it’s definitely gone a lot better than last year,” she said. “Soelden was obviously a great start for me, the first GS victory of my career.
“To come in here … and have back-to-back wins was great for my self-confidence. I hope I can keep the momentum going tomorrow and throughout the rest of the season.”