Vonn takes disappointing bronze

By ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency


Andrea Fischbacher celebrates in the finish area following the Women's Super G Alpine skiing event in at the Whistler Creekside venue Whistler, B.C. on Wednesday, February 20, 2010. (AL CHAREST/QMI AGENCY)

WHISTLER, B.C. — The hype is downgraded, and so too is the medal forecast for American alpine sensation Lindsey Vonn.

The pre-Games poster girl failed to match her downhill gold and instead settled for bronze in the women’s Super G race Saturday morning.

With her best races now done, it’s possible Vonn will leave here with just two medals — a career accomplishment for most Olympacians, but an underachieving haul in the eyes of some.

“Some of the expectations were pretty unrealistic,” Vonn said, not sounding the slightest bit disappointed. “People were saying I was going to win five medals, but I never really bought into that.

“It was just hype from people. I’m a double medallist now and I’m proud of that.”

Skiing 17th on another bright, sunny day in Whistler, Vonn seemed well on her way to a win, taking the lead with a run of 1:20.88.

But in less than 10 minutes she went from gold to bronze as Andrea Fischbacher of Austria, leaving from the 19th spot, and Slovenia’s Tina Maze (22nd) stormed past her to stake out the top two spots on the podium.

Skiers were challenged by the tough Whistler course as 15 of 53 starters recorded DNF’s, including Fernie, B.C.’s Emily Brydon in what likely was her final Olympic race.

Whistler native Britt Janyk, likely Canada’s last legitimate shot for an alpine medal, made it all the way down the course. Her time of 1:23.05 was 2.75 behind the winner.

Not only did Riesch knock off Vonn, but she turned down the heat from her homeland. When you ski in a country that puts the alp in alpine, expectations are high and Riesch captured Austria’s first alpine gold in these Games.

“I think (Vonn) was skiing a little bit conservative, but I’ve seen her skiing this way often this season and she still won,” Riesch said. “I think she saw on TV the mistakes others were making and skied a little conservative.”

A rare average effort by Vonn certainly opened the door for others.

“She’s always first in World Cup,” said Maze. “It’s kind of annoying to be on the start knowing she will probably be first.”

As has been the way throughout the alpine events, Canadians struggled badly. Unlike Brydon, at least Britt Janyk made it down the course, but was far too slow and finished 17th.

“The Olympic Games brings out emotions in everybody,” Brydon said. “I take my failures and I take my success and I grow with them.”

rob.longley@sunmedia.ca

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