Alpine

Vonn Misses Downhill Podium

by
USSA
2015-02-06 15:21
 

VAIL/BEAVER CREEK, CO (Feb. 6. 2015)—The FIS Alpine World Ski Championship women’s downhill was run down the famed Raptor course in Beaver Creek, CO on Friday. With uncharacteristically warm temperatures baking the Beaver Creek snow, conditions were challenging and the female racers put on a show for the fans packed into Red Tail Stadium. Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) was the top finishing American, taking fifth place.

Slovenia’s Tina Maze displayed unparalleled skill during her gold medal-winning run. Earning the silver, only .02 seconds behind Maze, was Austria’s Anna Fenninger. And, Lara Gut of Switzerland rounded out the women’s downhill podium.

The unseasonably warm temperatures created variable snow in the course’s top and bottom flat sections, which played a role in the downhill’s final standings.

“You have to hit the line right in a couple of key sections,” said Vonn after her fifth place finish in the women’s downhill. “Today with the faster speeds, my timing was just a little bit off. Sometimes I was little too early, sometimes a little too late. I haven’t really had a great feel for the course yet. I’m the only one who didn’t do the World Cup downhill [on the Raptor] last year. It just wasn’t my day, unfortunately.”

Even though Vonn missed the podium, she said she was still happy with her result. "I did the best I could. I fought my whole way down. I was so focused," said Vonn. "I visualized the course a thousand times. I did everything I could do and more. It just wasn’t a great run. It was a good run—a top five-worthy run—but it wasn’t a good enough run for a medal today."


Stacey Cook (left) and Julia Mancuso (right) look at the scoreboard in the finish. (Getty Images-Doug Pensinger)

Vonn was the highest finishing racer for the U.S. Ski Team. Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA) was next, ending up in 16th, and was immediately followed by Laurenne Ross (Bend, OR) in 17th. Both Mancuso and Ross were just a shade over two seconds off Maze’s winning time. Stacey Cook (Mammouth Mountain, CA), who had a brutal crash in Thursday’s downhill training run, rounded out the American effort in Friday’s downhill, finishing 19th out of a field comprised of 39 international skiers.

As each American skier pushed out of the starting gate, the loud cheers of the fans at the finish line seemed to pull the skiers down the course.

“It was harder snow today and I just couldn’t feel my skis coming around for me. It didn’t work out how I wanted it to,” said a smiling Mancuso. “But it was still a lot of fun to ski and really fun to come to the finish with all the amazing fans.”

Next up on the FIS Alpine World Ski Championship schedule is the men’s downhill on Saturday. Be sure to tune in to NBC at 2:30 p.m. EST to watch the men’s downhill live or stream it online via NBC Live Extra.


Mancuso finished 16th in the World Championships downhill, the second ranking American behind Vonn. (Getty Images-AFP/Fabrice Coffrini)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Maze and Fenninger flip-flopped places on the downhill podium compared to the super G. Fenninger won gold and Maze took the silver medal in Tuesday’s super G.
  • Though she’s leading the World Cup downhill standings, Austria’s Fenninger has never won a World Cup downhill race.
  • The crowd at the finish was phenomenal. “I want to thank all of the spectators for coming out. It was an amazing atmosphere,” said Vonn.
  • The Raptor downhill course: Up high, the flat, rolling waves of terrain meant that the athletes had to absorb and milk it for every ounce of speed possible. Then, the track ramped up into a steep, unrelenting dropoff. 180-degree sweeping turns across the entire mountain on the Peregrine Face proved to be one of the course’s cruxes, per usual. The midsection of the course, known as the Gauntlet, boasts a succession of fall-away turns. Finally, I-70, dubbed in honor of the interstate that passes directly beneath Vail and Beaver Creek, CO had challenging rolling flats, culminating with the world-renowned Redtail jump into the finish line.

QUOTES
Lindsey Vonn
You have to hit the line right in a couple of key sections. Today with the faster speeds, my timing was just a little bit off. Sometimes I was little too early, sometimes a little too late. I haven’t really had a great feel for the course yet. I’m the only one who didn’t do the World Cup downhill [on the Raptor] last year. I tried my best. It just wasn’t my day, unfortunately.

You have to carry the speed down the whole way. The snow was really good today—a lot harder and bumpy. On the two training runs we had, the snow was really soft and we had a lot of headwinds. The speeds were much different today than they were in the training runs. Like I said, I tried my best. I was extremely motivated and determined. When I went out of the starting gate, I had a really good feeling. I don’t know. I just didn’t quite do it today. 

I want to thank all of the spectators for coming out. It was an amazing atmosphere. The organizers did an amazing job. I’m really proud to be racing at home. I wish I could have done something better for the public and my family, but I still have two more chances—the super combined and the GS. Although, my chances of doing something there are slim, I’ll be giving 110 percent effort. Hopefully I can make a miracle happen.

I’m happy, honestly. I did the best I could. I fought my whole way down. I was so focused. I visualized the course a thousand times. I did everything I could do and more. It just wasn’t a great run. It was a good run—a top five-worthy run—but it wasn’t a good enough run for a medal today. I’m going home happy because I skied my best. My family is here. It’s an amazing atmosphere. It’s sunny. There's not a lot to be sad about. I wish I could have done more, of course, but I did my best. 

Stacey Cook
The crash [on Thursday] wasn’t that bad; it was hitting the nets that messed everything up. It was more knowing if I could deal with the pain, which sounds really silly. It was kind of a painful afternoon and evening. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to pull off some of those forces. Everything hurts. I got something going wrong on every limb.

This experience is amazing. I wasn’t expecting Worlds in the U.S. to be like this. I was expecting it to be smaller and with less thoughtful fans. When I came down in the super G and heard that crowd, I was absolutely blown away and so inspired by them. That’s a lot of what kept me fighting, even after the crash yesterday. I told the people in the ambulance that I was going to race today and they all laughed at me. 

There’s always something you can take out of it—a medal, a fight back. Unfortunately, my big event stories seem to be fighting back a lot. But I find I can inspire through that outlet as well. I would have loved a medal, but it’s really hard to get. We’re competing against the best. We’re doing the best we can and I’m proud of that. 

Laurenne Ross
It was definitely a little different than what we had trained on. It was a bit bumpier today and in every training run we had a headwind, which slowed us down a bit. So it was hard to know what to expect. It was hard to know where we should have given the course some respect. I think we definitely could have given that in a couple more spots and taken more speed out of it. But we’re learning and that’s ski racing. We’ll see. I think I’m going to get in some slalom gates tomorrow—first time in more than a year.

Julia Mancuso
It was harder snow today and I just couldn’t feel my skis coming around for me. It didn’t work out how I wanted it to. But it was still a lot of fun to ski and really fun to come to the finish with all the amazing fans. It’s really cool to have an awesome crowd here. And the weather couldn’t be any better. I’m looking forward to the super combined. I’m training some slalom and will hopefully improve on my downhill.

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