Lindsey Vonn won her first downhill race of the new year in Italy Saturday, and her first race of any kind in more than five weeks, beating World Cup points leader Tina Maze by roughly a half-second.
“I’m excited to be racing and I have that fire again and I trust that my body is strong enough to ski the way I want to ski,” Vonn told the AP. “It wasn’t always the case in all the races this year. I’m back to my old self and it’s a good feeling.”
After a three-week break, and another skipped race following her return, Vonn finished in 1:38.25. Maze finished 0.43 behind and American Leanne Smith finished third for her second podium of the season.
“When I decided to take the break, I was so weak,” added Vonn. “I didn’t know if I was going to be able to build enough strength back up in that short time to be able to race… I finally feel like myself again. I feel healthy, finally, and I’m able to ski the way I want to. It’s good to be back on top.”
Vonn is back on the mountain Sunday competing in a super-G race in Cortina. The four time world champ has won this particular race each of the last three years, so hopes are high.
Steve Langton, who was described by driver Steven Holcomb as the “best push athlete in the world,” announced his retirement today.
A collegiate sprinter and jumper at Northeastern University, Langton decided to try bobsledding after watching the 2006 Winter Olympics. He filled out an online athlete resume, and, by the 2010 Games, he was an Olympian.
At the Sochi 2014 Games, Langton teamed with Holcomb to win a bronze medal in the two-man race. It was the first Olympic medal in the event by American sled since 1952. He claimed another bronze medal as a member of Holcomb’s four-man “Night Train.”
“In Sochi I competed on the world’s biggest stage, I won two medals for my country and I did so along not only the best teammates but best friends anyone could ever ask for,” Langton told USA Bobsled.
Langton, who has a 62-inch standing box jump and can squat more than 500 pounds, was described by Men’s Health as “the most powerful winter Olympian” in the lead-up to 2014 Games.
“[Langton’s] work ethic and discipline rubbed off on the other athletes and made everyone better,” said USA Bobsled & Skeleton Chief Executive Officer Darrin Steele. “I have no doubt that he’ll find success in the next chapter of his life as well.”
Langton appeared on “The Amazing Race” in 2015 with his girlfriend, Aly Dudek, an Olympic short track speedskater.
None of the push athletes on the current U.S. roster have Olympic experience. Holcomb will compete in the World Cup opener this Saturday with Sam McGuffie, a former University of Michigan football player. The race will be McGuffie’s World Cup debut.