Vail’s Vonn crashes; Riesch wins super-combined
AP Sports Writer
WHISTLER, British Columbia – Lindsey Vonn, her bruised shin “killing me,” lost her bid for a second Olympic gold medal Thursday when she missed a gate and fell in the slalom leg of the super-combined.
Maria Riesch of Germany won the event, helping to atone for her failure to challenge best friend and biggest rival Vonn in Wednesday’s marquee downhill race.
Vonn, who once worried that the injury would keep her from skiing at all in these Olympics, was fastest in the morning downhill run of the super-combined but was visibly in pain after the twisting slalom run on an icy course pressed her ski boot against the badly bruised shin. Last among the leaders to ski in the slalom, she was 0.07 seconds ahead of Reisch’s pace at the first checkpoint but fell behind by 0.18 seconds at the second checkpoint on the bottom half of the course, then missed a gate and lost her right ski before crashing to the snow.
“It hurts so bad,” Vonn said. “It’s one thing to do the downhill, but the super-combined is really tough on my shin. I tried as hard as I could.”
She will get an off day on Friday before her next event, Saturday’s super-G, where she is an overwhelming favorite.
Riesch had a total time of 2 minutes, 09.14 seconds to beat Julia Mancuso of the United States by 0.94 seconds. Mancuso got her second silver medal after being runner-up to Vonn in the downhill. Anja Paerson of Sweden took the bronze, 1.05 behind Riesch.
Vonn struggled in slalom this season even before the shin injury. She has failed to complete a two-run race in four of seven World Cup events, and her best result was runner-up behind Riesch at the opener last November in Levi, Finland.
Riesch, who trailed Vonn by 0.33 after the downhill run Thursday, punched the air and pressed her hands to her goggles in delight when she saw her time. She came into the games as the biggest threat to Vonn’s predicted domination of the women’s Alpine events but was a disappointing eighth in the downhill, and had an anxious moment in the downhill leg of the super-combined Thursday. She got too much air in a small jump before the halfway point and veered momentarily off course before correcting her race line.
Mancuso moved up a place after being third-fastest in the downhill leg. She jumped for joy after finishing her slalom run and then fell back on the snow, her skis in the air.
Mancuso got the first U.S. medal in women’s Olympic combined or super-combined since Gretchen Fraser got silver at the 1948 St. Moritz Games, and also became the fifth American woman to win two Alpine medals in the same Olympics.
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