Lindsey Vonn back to ‘Business as Usual'!
A day after failing to reach her first podium in a speed event for a long time - Bansko, Bulgaria, in February 2009 - USA's Lindsey Vonn made it clear today that she was not ready at all to loosen her grip on women ski racing. After a nearly flawless run down the superbly prepared ‘Corviglia' course, the double World Champion finally managed to win her first ever World Cup race in St. Moritz - her ninth this season and her 31st in her career. It's also her 60th top-3 finish in a World Cup event.
She finished ahead by only 17/100 of France's Marie Marchand Arvier and Austria's Andrea Fischbacher who both achieved an even greater comeback today after skiing out or crashing in Saturday's downhill. Maria Riesch finished way behind while Sweden's Anja Paerson missed a gate after waiting long minute to start the race after the horrible crash of Italy's Nadia Fanchini. Fanchini torn both cruciate ligaments of her knees during her accident and will be out for several months.
As Maria Riesch didn't make it to the top-10, Lindsey increased her lead in the Overall standings with only seven events left prior the end of the season. She also enjoyed her fourth specialty World Cup title as she nailed the Super-G title with two races left. Her 220-point-lead on Switzerland's Fabienne Sutter guarantees her another Crystal globe in the speciality even before the Finals at Garmisch-Partenkirchen. She already clinched two downhill and a Super-G titles in recent winters as well as two Overall Cups.
The skier from Vail, Colorado, will have to wait another year to hope equalling the record of eight season wins in downhill set in 1973 by Austria's skiing legend Annemarie Moser-Proell who managed in fact to win eleven times in a row over two seasons. And she may also have a hard time doing as well as Switzerland's Vreni Schneider who celebrated 14 victories in a season during her amazing 1988/89 season.
But a week prior the Vancouver Olympics, Lindsey Vonn has other goals and plans in her mind - and she also believes that she could be even strong in the coming weeks after having learned again something while steaming down a World Cup course.
An interesting lesson for Lindsey.
"It was an interesting lesson for me yesterday, I was aware of that hole on the course yesterday, but I guess I tried to hard making-up some time there instead of staying on a smoother line," she told the press after the race. "The visibility was not so good there so it was a risky shot. But today I did again everything right, it was a crucial win for me after my disappointment from yesterday. I really enjoying it fighting back, it's important for my moral to see that I can bounce back after a difficult day."
Lindsey was already a very happy bird prior entering the start hut on top of the course. Before her race, she watched Roger Federer crushing David Murray during his final match at Melbourne and said she gained much energy from his performance.
"I admire Roger a lot, I was lucky enough to meet him personally last year at Paris and Wimbledon, he is a true role model," she explained at the post-race press conference. "I like his style and I was really fired up when I saw him playing so intensively and so successfully. I'm so happy that he won that tournament again - it makes my day."
There is another reason why Lindsey feels relieved after two intensive months of World Cup racing in nearly a dozen of countries. In ten day, she will finally be able to fully go for it without making any maths prior her starts. "It's so good that the Olympics don't count for the World Cup standings, I just can let it go at Whistler Mountain," she also said after the race.
"On Friday, I could not attack the way I wanted in the Super-combined as I was so concerned to score important points. I did like it but sometimes you have to make such tactical choices. Maria Riesch is so strong this year that I always need to have an eye of her when I'm racing now, but at Whistler, I'll be able to only focus on my races and not thinking about how many points I may win or lose with a good or a bad result. It's pretty exciting - I like it much better just to go for it," she added.
After a short training camp at Kaprun, near Zell am See, in Austria, Vonn is finally returning home in Colorado to rest a few days prior travelling to Canada. "I can't wait to be at home, I have been missing it," she also said. "I'll tank some energy relaxing there a little then I'll hit again the road to Vancouver. I plan to attend the Opening Ceremony and then it will be time to focus on my first event, the Super-combined."
"My slalom is getting better and it will be exciting. I'm looking to win my first Olympic medal - but I'll definitely fight hard for victory in each event that I'll enter."
In February 2002, Lindsey was only 17 when she competed at her first Winter Games at Salt Lake City, landing a promising 6th place in the combined. In 2006, a crash in downhill training prevented her to fight for medals in the best possible conditions at San Sicario - but next February it should be real show-time for the skier from Minnesota who has been working so hard for years to fully achieve her potential in Canada.