Vail’s Vonn wins another World Cup super-G
CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy – Lindsey Vonn skied through pain in her left knee to win another super-G race Sunday, claiming her sixth victory of the season by a small margin over German rival Maria Riesch.
It was the second win in three days for Vonn, who also finished first in a super-G Friday on the Olympia delle Tofane course.
Vonn clocked 1 minute, 22.64 seconds on another perfectly clear day in the Dolomites, beating overall World Cup leader Riesch by 0.05 seconds. Swiss teenager Lara Gut finished third, 0.88 back.
Vonn’s American teammate Julia Mancuso was fourth, while Swedish standout Anja Paerson placed fifth.
Vonn hurt her knee while pulling off a strenuous recovery during Saturday’s downhill, in which she finished third. She skipped the downhill awards ceremony and received therapy throughout Saturday afternoon and evening and took a few painkillers to get through Sunday’s race.
“It’s really swollen and it’s pretty solid pain,” Vonn said. “But that’s part of the job. It’s definitely not the worst injury I’ve had by a long shot. It’s definitely something I can deal with.”
At last year’s Vancouver Olympics, Vonn shrugged off a severe shin injury to win the downhill and take bronze in the super-G.
“Nothing really tops the shin injury,” she said. “I feel like I’ve dealt with a lot of injuries in the past and this one is pretty mild and definitely skiable.”
Vonn didn’t think her knee will bother her next weekend in Sestriere, saying she should be fine after three days off.
Vonn’s speed coach Chip White set the course and many skiers flew wide over a jump three-quarters of the way down and couldn’t make the next gate.
“I actually had no idea he was setting the course, so I had absolutely no say in the course set,” Vonn said.
Those who went out included Anna Fenninger, the Austrian who finished third Friday; Olympic super-G champion Andrea Fischbacher; former overall champion Nicole Hosp; Tina Maze of Slovenia; Fabienne Suter of Switzerland; and local favorite Elena Fanchini of Italy.
It was the 39th career win for Vonn and her fifth in Cortina, tying her with retired Italian standout Isolde Kostner. Austrian great Renate Goetschl holds the record with 10 wins in Cortina.
“I’ve had some of my best results here, but I’ve also had some really bad almost crashes or crashes, and I feel like it’s because I’m always on the limit here – you really have to push it and sometimes when you’re pushing the limits making mistakes,” Vonn said.
Riesch was the first of the favorites to ski and jumped a bit too far, almost missing the final gate heading into the finish area. The slight error likely cost her the win.
Riesch has a 155-point lead over Vonn in the overall standings, while Vonn leads Riesch 380-229 in the super-G points.
“I’m satisfied with my weekend. It’s tough to beat Vonn in the speed events and I won on Saturday and was second today. Only Friday was bad,” Riesch said, referring to her ninth-place finish to open the weekend.
Vonn started immediately after Riesch and made virtually no errors as a few thousand spectators watched her descent on the jumbo screen in the finish area to the disco tune of “Barbra Streisand.”
Wearing her new self-designed Hawaiian racing suit featuring green tropical flowers, Mancuso skied after Vonn and made a slight error toward the end of her run that cost her a podium spot. Still, Mancuso was content with her weekend, which also included a fourth-place finish Friday and a runner-up result Saturday – her best World Cup finish in three years.
“With the way Lindsey and Maria are skiing you really have to take a lot of risks if you want to contend and at this point I’m really looking to win,” said Mancuso, who hasn’t won a race in four years.
Mancuso can also look forward to next weekend’s races across northern Italy in Sestriere, the site of her giant slalom victory at the 2006 Turin Olympics. The super-combined and super-G races there represent the next-to-last stop before next month’s world championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.