Lindsey Vonn didn’t need much time to confirm her superb Olympic downhill triumph from Vancouver – two weeks after her Canadian success, the skier from Vail, Colorado, celebrated another great win at Crans-Montana, winning the last downhill race prior the up-coming Finals at Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
This latest World Cup win – her tenth this season and her 32nd in her career – allows Vonn to secure her third consecutive crystal globe in downhill and to reinforce her lead in the Overall standings as her main rival Maria Riesch, 6th, failed to reach the podium this time.
Yet it has been a narrow win for the HEAD champion as she beat by only a mere one hundredth of a second Italy’s Johanna Schnarf, who took advantage of a faster course to reach her first World Cup podium two weeks after finishing a frustrating 4th in Super-G at Whistler Mountain.
Another HEAD skier, the young Swiss Marianne Abderhalden, came in a surprising 3rd .
“I guess I have been quite lucky today to win with that small margin, last year I lost a few races by only one or two hundredths,” Lindsey said with a smile after the race. “The conditions were really demanding for the favorites with strong gusts of wind and poor visibility. I started after the TV break and there was much fresh snow on the course. In some turns, I couldn’t remain on the best line and skied into some powder snow, it was sometimes pretty scary,” she added.
“The course got faster afterwards in the upper part after a while and a group of late starters managed to make the best out of it so I’m really pleased I could remain in first place until the end of the race.”
Vonn was also pretty happy to equal Bode Miller’s record of 32 wins and to pass the limit of ten season wins that only a few top champions as Switzerland’s Vreni Schneider (14), Austria’s Annemarie Moser-Proell (11) and Sweden’s Anja Pärson (11) could break in past years.
“I’m really proud of what I have achieved so far this season, it has been amazing,” Vonn also explained. “To be an Olympic champion and have done so well on the World Cup tour is just fantastic. I have worked very hard for this last summer.”
“I’m very excited to have grabbed another downhill title with six season wins, it has been quite a perfect winter for me in that specialty. To win today by this tough weather conditions is also very particular to me. I’m happy to have been able to stay very focused and put down another strong run this morning.”
“I must say that I felt pretty relaxed before the race. Winning that gold at Whistler the other day has been a strong relief and also a strong boost for my moral. I was able to ski with more pleasure today and fight for a maximum of speed. The last two weeks are always very demanding when you’re fighting hard for some titles, especially this year after those nerve breaking Olympics. So that’s why I’m happy to have that other downhill title under my belt.”
With a total of 18 downhill wins, Vonn moved up into 3rd place in the all-time speciality standings behind Moser-Proell (38) and Renate Götschl (24).
Lindsey is definitely aiming for another strong run in Sunday’s Super-G race – yet she mostly hopes that the weather conditions will be better for everybody. “The racers are getting tired now and they face greater injury risks when the visibility is low, so it would be nice for everybody if the conditions would be fair tomorrow,” she told the press. “It’s important to avoid bad crashes and get ready for great finals next week at Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Lindsey also wishes to increase her lead in the Overall standings prior travelling to Bavaria. “It’s an important win for my confidence, it’s great for me to know that I remain as competitive as in past weeks,” she said. “Maria Riesch remains in the hunt and she certainly will fight hard next week in front of her fans so I can’t miss any available opportunity to score as many points as possible.”
“In a few weeks, I will be able to relax and forget about ski racing. I have a busy schedule in front of me in matters of presentations, TV shows, parties and so on, but then I hope to take a much longer break than in recent years. Last summer I trained sometimes six to eight hours a day six days a week to be fully ready for this Olympic season, but now I have to look for something else to remain fully motivated and happy to race in the coming years,” also added the American who has already planned to keep on racing at least until the Sotchi Olympics.