Speed queen Vonn returns to happy hunting ground
VAL D’ISERE, France (AFP) –
American ski star Lindsey Vonn will race the World Cup downhill and super-G bidding to continue her impressive form in speed events this season and also on the slopes of this chic French Alpine resort.
Vonn is undefeated in the speed disciplines so far this year, while Slovenia’s Tina Maze heads the overall standings thanks to her expertise in the more technical events of slalom and giant slalom.
“Up and down weekend in St Moritz but overall leaving with a positive outlook,” Vonn said on her facebook page after last weekend’s racing when she rebounded to claim a super-G victory.
“Winning the SG felt really good and I skied much better in GS (giant slalom), just made a huge mistake. Looking forward to racing in Val d’Isere this weekend!”
Vonn has some considerable form in Val d’Isere, the place where she cemented her domination of women’s alpine skiing when she won the downhill and super-G golds in the world championships.
The races this weekend are being held on a different piste, but that is unlikely to dent her record of having made seven podiums, including five victories, in the nine events she has ever raced here.
Maze for the moment has a 263-point lead on Vonn in the overall standings, with German Maria Hoefl-Riesch in second at 234.
Vonn missed out on a fourth successive World Cup title to her good friend Hoefl-Riesch by just three points in 2011, and two victories this weekend would go a long way toward the American recouping some valuable points in the standings.
Vonn now has a career total of 57 World Cup victories, pushing her ahead of Swiss racer Vreni Schnieder and into second on the all-time win list, with only Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proll ahead, on 62 career victories.
“Moser-Proll was an unbelievable champion and won a lot of races at that time,” US women’s head coach Alex Hoedlmoser, himself an Austrian, told cable giant CNN. “But there wasn’t the same competition then.
“The sport is getting more complex, it is harder to break those records. I think she (Vonn) is the greatest so far and it is a matter of time before she breaks those records.”
Turning to the decision by the International Ski Federation (FIS), the sport’s governing body, to turn down her request to race the men at Lake Louise, Canada, on November 24, Vonn told CNN she was looking at legal options to change the ruling.
“I was definitely disappointed with their decision. After discussing with them my request they seemed pretty positive and optimistic that we could find a solution and then I got their answer and they were completely against it,” Vonn said.
“I don’t want to make a big stink out of it but I feel like their response that I can’t race with the men simply because I’m a woman was definitely gender-biased so I’m going to do what I can and hopefully make something work.
“So right now I’m looking into options — my father is an attorney so I’m just seeing if there’s any options, legally, that I can take.”
FIS argued that Vonn would have had an unfair advantage over her female rivals, with the women’s race scheduled a week after the men in Lake Louise. The American then turned down a chance to be a ‘forerunner’ before the men’s competition began.