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Vonn wins 2nd Lake Louise downhill

by AFP

LAKE LOUISE, Canada (AFP) –

Lindsey Vonn of the US

Lindsey Vonn of the US competes in the women’s Alpine Skiing World Cup downhill in Lake Louise. Vonn came back from the brink of disaster Saturday to win a women’s World Cup downhill at Lake Louise and match Swiss great Vreni Schneider for second on the all-time victories list.

Lindsey Vonn came back from the brink of disaster Saturday to win a women’s World Cup downhill at Lake Louise and match Swiss great Vreni Schneider for second on the all-time victories list.

Vonn and Schneider, who reigned in the technical disciplines in the 1980s and 90s, both have 55 World Cup wins, with Annemarie Moser-Proell holding the record with 62.

Vonn, America’s four-time World Cup overall champion, won her second downhill in as many days at Lake Louise as she extended her dominance in the Canadian Rockies. It was her 13th Lake Louise win.

She was trailing the first-place pace when she went wide on a sweeping turn on the upper half of the course.

But she skied strong on the bottom half to win her sixth straight Lake Louise race. That includes a sweep of three races last year.

“I was going into Fishnet today with a lot more speed than yesterday,” Vonn said. “I felt like I just hit a few bumps and caught my inside ski and almost went into the fence then somehow kept going.

“It was definitely interesting, but I didn’t give up. I haven’t won with that big of a mistake before.”

She was timed in 1min 52.90sec, and for the second straight day American Stacey Cook finished second, 52-hundredths of a second behind.

Switzerland’s Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden was third, 62-hundredths off the lead.

Vonn has come back strong after a painful intestinal illness landed her in the hospital for a couple of days in November.

Last week in Colorado she opted out of a slalom, and looked tired as she returned to racing with a 21st-placed finish in a giant slalom.

But she said her ability to recover from her error Saturday was a testament to her overall strength.

L-R: Stacey Cook, Lindsey Vonn and Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden

L-R: Stacey Cook of the US, Lindsey Vonn of the US and Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden of Switzerland celebrate on the podium of the women’s Alpine Skiing World Cup downhill in Lake Louise.

“Over the last few years I’ve really worked on getting stronger and that helps recover from mistakes like that one,” she added. “It’s not the way you want to ski, but it helps my confidence to know that I can recover from them.”

Vonn will go for a sweep in Sunday’s super-G.

For Cook, who had never been on a World Cup podium before her runner-up finish on Friday, it was the continuation of a dream week.

“I hope this is the tip of the iceberg for me,” she said. “My coaches have told me that I’m like a fine wine — that I get better with age and it’s true.

“This has a long time coming and I’m just now starting to believe that this is actually happening.”

Cook admitted that Vonn’s miscue gave her momentary hope that she might stand atop the podium herself.

“There was a second there that I actually thought I might win this thing, but Lindsey is amazing,” Cook said. “When she made that mistake my heart actually stopped for a second. She’s amazing, she’s the only athlete that could stop on course and then still win.”

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