Maze magnificent in Vail 2015 downhill
Beaver Creek provided a dream backdrop for today’s ladies‘ downhill race at the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championship presented by Audi as Tina Maze (SLO) and Anna Fenninger (AUT) provided another entertaining duel for first and second place.
Blue skies, a sell-out crowd and compact winter snow conditions greeted the field of 39 skiers in one of the marquee events of this Championship. For the host nation USA, the downhill presented one of the top medal chances with comeback sensation Lindsey Vonn, downhill training winner Stacey Cook and big event star Julia Mancuso all candidates to make it on the podium, but in the end the Americans got shut out of the medal race as Maze took home the gold medal.
Maze had a near flawless run the entire way down the Raptor course as she was green at every interval. She lost a bit of time at the bottom of the course creating as nail-biting finish as she edged Fenninger (AUT) by a mere 0.02 seconds. Switzerland’s Lara Gut rounded out the podium 0.34 off the pace.
It was a reversal from Tuesday’s super-G on Tuesday, where Fenninger edged Maze by 0.03 seconds to take the gold medal.
“It’s a nice battle between Anna and I, it makes it fun for us,” Maze said. “The course, even though it was warm was perfect, the snow was hard and it made it really nice to ski here today.”
Today was Maze’s third World Championship gold medal, but her first-ever in the downhill. In total, she has eight medals under her belt. Meanwhile, Fenninger’s effort today keeps Austria atop the medal standings and gives the star her second World Championship medal with Tuesday’s super-G win. It was the fourth World Championship podium for both Fenninger and Gut.
“I’m really happy about my performance, it was a really good run,” said Fenninger after the race. “It was emotional in the finish and then another emotion when Tina came down. It goes in circles, in the super-G we were reversed for gold and silver, but I am still happy with my silver.”
It was a solid day for the Austrians, who placed three racers in the top-six. Besides Fenninger, Nicole Schmidhofer finished in fourth place, while Elisabeth Georgl ended in sixth.
Vonn was the next skier after Maze to come down the course and on the upper half it looked like the American would have a fairy tale finish, but a few key mistakes mid-course cost Vonn nearly a second. She managed to make up some of the lost time on the lower part, but ultimately it was too big of a gap and she finished in fifth place.
“I’m disappointed with today, but at the same time I skied as well as I could have. I was determined, I was focused and I wanted to ski my best for my friends, my family and all the fans here, but today was just not my day,” said Vonn after the race. “I still have a few more events, so I’m going to get up on the hill and train for slalom for the first time in about two and half years. Who knows maybe in the combined I can pull off a miracle.”
Tomorrow the men are back in action to take their turn in the downhill as the Birds of Prey course will come calling for an 11:00 start.
For complete results click here