Alpine

Speed Week Opening for the Ladies

by
Megan Harrod
2015-12-03 20:40
 

LAKE LOUISE, Alberta (Dec. 3, 2015) – Success is no stranger to the U.S. Ski Team speed women at Lake Louise. In fact, Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) has won so many times on this track it’s been deemed “Lake Lindsey.” For good reason, seeing as though she’s snagged 15 victories in Lake Louise – by far the most by a single skier at a specific venue – 12 in downhill and three in super G. Count ‘em.

Last year, in her comeback race, Vonn led a historic American podium sweep with Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA) in second and Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA) in third. Although Mancuso isn’t racing this year, it’s very possible that the seasoned team could sweep the podium again, and it’s definitely not unheard of for them to stack the top 15.

This year’s track boasts some new terrain that took some getting used to for the women. It didn’t seem to take too long for Vonn, who posted the 34th fastest time yesterday and the second fastest time in today’s training run. “I just had a different approach today,” Vonn said. “I changed some things in my line that yesterday didn't really pan out for me. But I was happy with my skiing. I definitely can clean up a few sections for tomorrow but in general it was a pretty solid run and I'm just looking forward to my first speed race of the season.”

Though Cook may have felt the nerves yesterday, today was a new day, and she wasn’t far behind Vonn. “It’s different than the classic downhill that normally is here,” said Cook. “I have to make the adjustments. That in itself is a challenge and keeps it entertaining because we’ve run the old course so many times we could go with our eyes closed. Now we have to focus a little bit more. Lindsey skied that terrain really well today, so obviously it hasn’t changed that much. She’s still unbeatable here.”


Stacey Cook rips to third place in the second training run at Lake Louise. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom-Alexis Boichard)

In the second day of training, Austria’s Miriam Puchner was the fastest woman, with Vonn .12 behind and Cook close behind in third. The American contingency was strong in day two of training, with Laurenne Ross (Bend, OR) tied for ninth, Alice McKennis (Glenwood Springs, CO) in 12th, Jackie Wiles (Aurora, OR) in 15th and Audi FIS Ski World Cup newcomer Breezy Johnson landing in 28th.

Vonn also announced today that teammate Wiles will be named as the first-ever athlete ambassador for The Lindsey Vonn Foundation. “We’re really excited today to announce that I’m sponsoring Jackie through the Lindsey Vonn Foundation,” stated Vonn. “It’s actually me personally that’s sponsoring her but she’s going to be the newest ambassador for the foundation. I’m really proud of her. She’s done an amazing job in her career so far. She’s really young, talented, has a great attitude, so I think she’s a great ambassador for my foundation.”

Lake Louise will host two downhill races and cap the speed week off with super G on Sunday. This year, all eyes will be on Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO), who will be making her speed debut as she competes in Sunday’s super G. “I’m going to be attacking as much as I can,” Shiffrin said at her victory press conference in Aspen. “I am really excited to see what World Cup speed is all about. I’ll try to learn as much as I can from the other U.S. girls and from Lindsey and our coaches. I’m really excited. I like super G a lot, so I’ll be going for it. I just don’t know exactly where that will put me.”

QUOTES
Lindsey Vonn

It's the first speed race of the year, so I feel like I'm coming here always with a lot of confidence. I've had a lot of success here too so that certainly helps. I just love this hill. It really suits me, it suits my style and I know I can win.

Stacey Cook
The plan with my coaches was to improve every run, so I left a lot of room for improvement yesterday so that I could accomplish that goal. But I just had a little better attitude. I was pretty nervous yesterday; I don’t know why. It was the first World Cup scenario on the new ski company [Stöckli] – it’s good to be nervous though. It means that you’re excited and have a lot of anticipation, and you’re ready.

Jackie Wiles [On being named as first-ever Lindsey Vonn Foundation Athlete Ambassador]
This is my third year on the [World Cup] tour. I had a breakout first year; it was a thrill. And last year I didn’t have the best year, so this year I needed some help funding. I’m just stoked that Lindsey can help me continue my dreams. To have Lindsey as a mentor – she’s the best female ski racer in history – it’s a huge opportunity for me to learn from Lindsey and take everything that she’s done to make herself so successful. So I’m really blessed and lucky to be in this position.

Mikaela Shiffrin
The second race [of the Copper FIS downhill series] was really good, it just takes me a little bit to understand exactly how straight I can go. Super G is a little different…so maybe I’ll have a better shot at super G than downhill. We’ll see. I’m excited.

Lake Louise Starters
Lindsey Vonn – SG, DH
Mikaela Shiffrin – SG
Stacey Cook – SG, DH
Laurenne Ross – SG, DH
Alice McKennis – SG, DH
Jackie Wiles – SG, DH
Anna Marno – SG, DH
Abigail Ghent – SG
Breezy Johnson – DH*

*denotes FIS Ski Alpine World Cup debut

TV COVERAGE
2015 Broadcast and Live Streaming Schedule (times EST)

Friday, Dec. 4
2:30 p.m. - Women's DH, Lake Louise  - NBC Live Extra - LIVE STREAM
8:30 p.m. - Women's DH, Lake Louise, Universal HD

Saturday, Dec. 5
2:30 p.m. - Women's DH, Lake Louise  - NBC Live Extra - LIVE STREAM
8:30 p.m. - Women's DH, Lake Louise, Universal HD

Sunday, Dec. 6
1:00 p.m. - Women's SG, Lake Louise  - NBC Live Extra - LIVE STREAM
8:30 p.m. - Women's SG, Lake Louise, Universal HD

TRAINING RESULTS
Women’s downhill training, day one
Women’s downhill training, day two