For Lindsey Vonn, name of the game is victory |

For Lindsey Vonn, name of the game is victory

Eric Willemsen
Associated Press
Vail, CO Colorado
Giovanni Auletta/APLindsey Vonn, of the United States, the winner, embraces Canada's runnerup Kelly Vanderbeek (in Santa hat) winning the World Cup downhill race in St. Anton, Austria, Friday.

ST. ANTON AM ARLBERG, Austria ” Normally, Lindsey Vonn hates it when people mispronounce her name.

“No, no, it’s Vonn,” she says. “That’s not a W nor an F. That’s a V, like in Vincent.”

On Friday, it was perhaps fitting that an official at a World Cup downhill called her Lindsey Won. After all, that’s what she did.

The American star was followed by Kelly Vanderbeek of Canada and Julia Mancuso of the United States for a North American podium sweep.

Formerly known as Lindsey Kildow ” “a much easier name to me,” the moderator said after apologizing ” Vonn won despite major errors in the first part of the race.

She skied off course but still raced down the Karel Schranz course in 1 minute, 32 seconds for her second victory of the season. She also won the season opening downhill in Lake Louise, Alberta, and extended her lead in the discipline standings.

Vanderbeek enjoyed her best World Cup result, 0.36 seconds behind. Mancuso was another 0.02 back.

“I don’t know what happened. I had so many mistakes early on and never thought I would post the fastest time,” Vonn said. “I can’t believe this. After five gates I really thought it was all over. But I stayed cool and just tried to go down full speed.”

Vonn praised the difficult course, which was also used at the 2001 men’s world championships. Many women crashed during training this week.

“It was the most difficult downhill on the women’s circuit. It’s a very technical course and I would love to see more of these on the World Cup circuit,” Vonn said. “Many hills are just too easy, but this one demands everything of the racers.”

Vanderbeek led the competition until Vonn skied.

“I had a poor training run yesterday so this is a great result for me,” Vanderbeek said. “I went into the race with no expectations. I was a bit nervous but felt really well once started.”

Mancuso was 0.3 seconds faster than Vonn halfway down the course, but lost time as she slipped in the lower part and barely avoided crashing.

She finished with tears in her eyes, realizing she had missed a great opportunity to win. She did not appear at the post-race news conference.

Defending World Cup champion Renate Goetschl lost control of a ski after jumping and finished well outside the top 10.

Anja Paerson had the fastest time in the upper part of the course but quit at the halfway mark after briefly losing control of the ski on a bumpy part of the run.

Paerson, who had knee surgery before the start of last season, said she was scared of damaging her knee again. She was not injured and will start Saturday in the super-combi.

Martina Schild, seventh in the downhill standings, did not start because of a knee injury from a crash during training Thursday.

Nicole Hosp overtook Paerson at the top the overall World Cup standings. Hosp leads with 419 points, while Paerson and Marlies Schield share second with 383. Vonn is fourth with 374 points.

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