Clean World Cup sweep for Vonn at Lake Louise
By DANIEL AUSTIN, QMI AGENCY
|Lindsey Vonn of the U.S. celebrates while flanked by teammate Julia Mancuso (R) in third place and Anne Fenninger of Austria (L) in second place during the Women's World Cup Super G alpine ski race Sunday in Lake Louise. Vonn swept all three weekend races. PHOTO BY ANDY CLARK/REUTERS
Another race day at Lake Louise, another win for Lindsey Vonn.
The American alpine skiing superstar completed a sweep of the weekend’s events in World Cup women’s skiing competition Sunday, winning her third race in as many days with a time of 1:20.21 in the women’s super-G.
It was the 11th win of Vonn’s career at Lake Louise, and while she said Sunday’s race was her worst of the weekend, it can still serve as a confidence-builder for the long season ahead.
“Whenever there are records on the line, it’s hard to stay focused on skiing, but I tried to calm my nerves and stay cool,” Vonn said. “I love it here. I love the track, and it’s always suited me well.
Vonn’s dominant weekend came on the heels of the announcement last week that she would be divorcing her husband and longtime ski coach Thomas Vonn. But Vonn appeared to leave any personal difficulties behind throughout the weekend and said she’d kept focused on getting her season off to a stronger start than last year.
“It’s definitely a lot more than I expected considering everything that’s going on,” Vonn said. “I’m leaving with a lot of confidence. It really couldn’t have gone any better.”
Vonn’s win highlighted an impressive day for American skiers, as Julia Mancuso finished in third place with a time of 1:20.92. Mancuso had been disappointed by her performances in Friday and Saturday’s downhill races. After Vonn separated herself from the field by a combined 3.63 seconds in Friday and Saturday’s races, Mancuso said it was encouraging to see a closer race in the super-G.
“It’s definitely nice to see that we can get a little closer in the super-G,” Mancuso said. “But in the downhill, she skied amazing, and it’s inspiring for everybody just to watch.”
Austrian Anna Fenninger finished in second with a time of 1:20.40, and said she had hoped to prevent Vonn from completing the sweep but couldn’t be disappointed with finishing so close behind her.
“She’s just the best at the moment,” Fenninger said. “But I had a really good run. I had good speed in the steep section and kept it in the flats.”
The Canadian team was led by Marie-Michele Gagnon of Lac-Etchemin, Que. The 22-year-old Gagnon finished in 26th place with a time of 1:22.46 and said that after a summer spent focusing on training for slalom racing, she was pleased with her run.
“I came here with the goal of being in the top 30, and I was right there,” Gagnon said. “I didn’t train for speed at all this summer, so it was more about getting back on the longer skis and feeling out the snow. I’m happy with what I did.”
Gagnon was the most experienced of the skiers on the Canadian team, but Sarah Elliot from Oyama, B.C., put in an impressive showing in her first ever World Cup race, finishing in 39th place with a time of 1:23.49.
Elliot said while the team at Lake Louise this weekend was young, they’d been helped by the advice of some of the injured veterans, including Kelly Vanderbeek.
“They just said ski your best and see where it puts you,” Elliot said. “So my focus was just to ski my best, and I’m really happy I did that.”