Vonn looking strong, topping overall points
OK, we were just hoping for Lindsey Vonn to put two good runs together in giant slalom.
Guess she had something else in mind. She picked up her first GS win last weekend in Are, Sweden, since winning that discipline in Maribor, Slovenia, in 2013.
In the spirit of all things Star Wars, the last time she won GS was a long, long, time ago in galaxy far, far away.
Most importantly, the last time she won a GS, she was Lindsey Vonn, undisputed ski goddess, and it may be that she’s getting back to that stage.
Remember that last year she was coming of two knee surgeries. She openly complained that her knee was hurting during the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. The injury was not completely healed.
Vonn had a relatively normal summer — yes, breaking her ankle in training is an occupational hazard. She was able to rest and go through the routine of a regular offseason.
That’s huge. Athletes are creatures of routine. Vonn was getting back to hers. She was also getting more time for that right knee to heal.
She’s clearly in good shape in the speed events, as witnessed by her regularly scheduled demolition of Lake Louise, Alberta.
The GS win is yet another sign.
Vonn is sitting atop the overall points with 400, ahead of Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter (315), Mikaela Shiffrin (296) Switzerland’s Lara Gut (278) and Italy’s Frederica Brignone (220).
Hansdotter is tech only, as is Brignone. Shiffrin is hurt, so the competition for the overall seems to be Gut.
Gut, surprisingly, has gotten most (170 of 278) of her points in GS, and has not skied well in speed, which is weird, given her history.
The ladies have two downhills this week in Val d’Isere and then a GS. These are the last speed events of calendar year, and a chance for Vonn to pad her lead. She already has the second-most overall titles — four — for a woman. (Annemarie Moser Proell has six.)
The following is speculation, but well-founded. Vonn competes against herself. She wants another World Cup championship to prove that she’s as good now as she was before blowing up her right knee in Schladming, Austria, in 2013. Also, by winning it this year, she would become the oldest female to win the overall.
And for the trivia buffs looking ahead to this weekend, Vonn has five times in Val d’Isere.
Oh, by the way
When Ted Ligety took second in the super-G at Birds of Prey, no member of the media asked him about his marriage over the summer. The only person who brought it up was his brother-in-law, who asked a question.
Why do the guys get a pass on their private life, while Vonn doesn’t?
Pat Graham, of Associated Press Denver, and also our fellow prognosticator come Birds of Prey Week, is reporting that Shiffrin tore her MCL and has a bone bruise during warm-ups in Are. There is no timetable for her return.
Take it slow, Mikaela.
Vonn should be an illustrated history on how not to rehab this. Vonn came back way too early after her knee went ka-boom — a technical term — in 2013. She pushed rehab so that she could try to qualify for the 2014 Olympics. She ended up redoing her knee and it cost her two full years.
There are no Worlds this year. We’re three years from the Olympics. Take it slowly. Graham reports that Shiffrin may be shooting for World Cup Finals in March.
Don’t do it.
Come back full strength next season and be ready for World Champs in St. Moritz, Switzerland, in 2017.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.