Alpine

Cook Finishes Strong in Downhill Opener

by
Courtney Harkins
2016-12-02 15:42
 

LAKE LOUISE, Canada (Dec. 2, 2016) – In the opening downhill of the 2016-17 season, Stacey Cook (Mammoth Lakes, CA) was the top American in Friday’s Audi FIS Ski World Cup at Lake Louise, taking sixth place. Laurenne Ross (Bend, OR) also snuck into the top 10, grabbing ninth.

It was an exciting race, as fans had presumed the race was won by Kajsa Kling of Sweden, who was winning for 10 racers after starting 17th. However, Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia and Sophia Goggia of Italy attacked from bib 28 and 29 to take first and second, respectively, thrilling the crowd.

Cook was excited about her finish in what she calls her favorite stop on the World Cup tour. “I’m really excited. Podium or not, I think I skied well today,” said Cook, who has three Lake Louise downhill podiums under her belt. “Our team is super fast right now. It’s a fun, competitive environment.”


Mikaela Shiffrin skied her first downhill World Cup. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom-Christophe Pallot)

Though the results weren’t quite what the Americans were looking for after a strong training run Thursday, when the ladies stacked four in the top six, there were a few standout racers. In only her eighth World Cup race ever, Breezy Johnson (Victor, ID) finished just out of the top 10 in 11th place, her best-ever World Cup result. Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) made her World Cup downhill debut, finishing in 18th. And after two years off snow due to injury, Leanne Smith (North Conway, NH) made her World Cup return, just missing the points in 31st.

“It wasn’t bad at all!” said Shiffrin, who got stuck in a long course hold after the athlete before her crashed into the netting. “I struggled a little with the course hold…but it was a clean run—cleaner than previous days. I’m sure we’ll see a couple things in video and then I’ll try and make adjustments for tomorrow. But right now, I’m alive and everything’s good!”


Breezy Johnson skied to her best World Cup result. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom-Christophe Pallot)

Notably missing was Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO), who has dominated Lake Louise throughout her time on the World Cup. Just last season, she swept the downhill and super G podiums, bringing her podium total in Lake Louise to 25.

Other U.S. finishers included Jackie Wiles (Aurora, CO) in 23rd and Anna Marno (Steamboat Springs, CO) in 48th. Alice McKennis (New Castle, CO) DNFed.

The women race downhill again Saturday before finishing the Lake Louise weekend on Sunday with a super G.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Stacey Cook had the top American finish, taking sixth at the Audi FIS Ski World Cup downhill at Lake Louise.
  • Breezy Johnson had her career-best World Cup finish in 11th place.
  • Mikaela Shiffrin skied her first World Cup downhill, finishing in 18th.
  • Notably absent was Lindsey Vonn, who has podiumed at the Lake Louise speed events 25 times. She is recovering from a broken arm.
  • Catch Friday’s downhill race at 7:30 p.m. ET on Universal HD.
  • The women race downhill again Saturday before finishing the Lake Louise weekend on Sunday with a super G.

QUOTES

Stacey Cook
I’m really excited. Podium or not, I think I skied well today. There was maybe a little bit of a doubt earlier this week that I could throw it in there for a competitive run, so I’m happy with my personal performance. Also, it’s fun—our team is super fast right now. It’s a fun, competitive environment.

I love this downhill. I think it’s the most true downhill we have on the World Cup. We get going close to 130 kilometers an hour and the snow is amazing. The volunteers here work so hard and are all friendly. Over the 14 years I’ve raced this, I’ve gotten to know so many of them. It’s fun to have people cheering for you and smiling. This is my favorite stop. I’ve got to try and keep the momentum going as we move forward, but it’s really a treat up here.  

Mikaela Shiffrin
It wasn’t bad at all! I struggled a little with the course hold. It’s always a consensus when you get iced at the start, you’re like ‘oh no, not me.’ Being my first downhill, I started thinking about who went before me, what did she do, where did she fall, is she hurt, why is it taking so long, why do they have to send a forerunner—all these thoughts going through my mind. But I was like, just clear your head, pretend it’s a training run, no pressure. I certainly didn’t risk anything crazy. To be fast in speed, there needs to be a certain level of risk, and I know that. But right now, if GS and slalom are my main priorities this season, I certainly don’t need to be going crazy in a downhill in flat light and after I got iced.

It was a clean run—cleaner than previous days. I know there are spots I got pushed a little bit and I can be more solid, stronger on my outside ski, feeling the snow a little bit and being loose. I’m sure we’ll see a couple things in video and then I’ll try and make adjustments for tomorrow. But right now, I’m alive and everything’s good!

RESULTS
Women’s Downhill

BROADCAST AND LIVE STREAMING (times EST)

Friday, Dec. 2
7:30 p.m. – Women’s DH, Lake Louise – Universal HD

Saturday, Dec. 3
2:30 p.m. – Women’s DH, Lake Louise – NBCsports.com – LIVE STREAM
8:00 p.m. – Women’s DH, Lake Louise – NBCSN

Sunday, Dec. 4
1:00 p.m. – Women’s SG, Lake Louise – NBCsports.com – LIVE STREAM
6:00 p.m. – Women’s SG, Lake Louise – Universal HD