Lindsey Vonn wins cow in Val d’Isere, one victory from record

Lindsey Vonn

Lindsey Vonn is one win from matching the all-time women’s World Cup record after recording her 61st victory in Val d’Isere, France, on Saturday.

Vonn, in her fourth race this year coming off knee surgery, captured a downhill by .19 of a second over Austrian Elisabeth Goergl and German Viktoria Rebensburg.

“It was a pretty wild ride,” Vonn said. “I made some mistakes, but I was charging and skiing aggressively.”

She received a calf as a prize, nine years after she won a cow that she named Olympe with her first Val d’Isere downhill victory.

“It’s even better because I get a cow,” said Vonn, who named it Winnie. “I get a little baby cow, one month old.”

Vonn can tie the women’s all-time wins leader, retired Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell, with a victory in Sunday’s super-G in Val d’Isere. That will be Vonn’s last race before the new year.

“I have such great memories from Val d’Isere, now adding another great memory today,” Vonn said. “Hopefully, tomorrow is another Christmas present.”

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Her comeback from major knee surgeries the previous two seasons has been remarkable. Vonn’s last race in her aborted comeback last season was in Val d’Isere on Dec. 21, when her weak right knee gave out and she was unable to finish — with boyfriend Tiger Woods watching from the finish area. She had further surgery in January and missed the Sochi Olympics.

“Today was a really good test,” Vonn said. “I haven’t had a lot of mistakes in the races yet, where I really have to put every bit of weight on my knee. Today, I definitely had to do that, and it was perfect.”

Vonn finished eighth in her first race back in Lake Louise, Alberta, on Dec. 5, then won the next day and finished second the day after that.

“Lake Louise is a place where I’ve won so many times that sometimes people automatically assume that I’m going to win there,” Vonn said. “[Saturday was] more for everyone else that they understand that I’m back to what I used to be.”

She’s now third in the World Cup overall standings, though well behind Slovenia’s Tina Maze. Vonn is a four-time World Cup overall champion and the 2010 Olympic downhill gold medalist.

“I feel like I did a few years ago, when I could make mistakes and still win,” Vonn said.

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The relationship between Vonn and the legend she’s chasing will be a topic of reporting going into 2015. They have met a few times — Moser-Proell is 61 years old; Vonn is 30 — and sat down for a 25-minute conversation in German before this season. Moser-Proell told Vonn she hoped the American would break her record, according to this translation.

“I don’t know her very well,” Vonn said two weeks ago. “She’s a very nice woman, very humble and down to Earth.”

Moser-Proell reached 62 wins in 174 career World Cup starts (almost half Vonn’s current total of starts), retiring after the 1980 Olympic season and starting a family. She won her only Olympic gold medal in Lake Placid and was just shy of 27 years old in her last World Cup race.

Not only did Moser-Proell retire at an early age, she also retired twice. Her first leave was at age 22 in 1975, when she married a ski salesman, nursed her dying father and missed the 1975-76 season, including the Innsbruck Olympics. She returned to racing the following season.

“The less I talk about it,” Vonn said of the record, “the faster I get there.”

Vonn also said she still hopes to race against men, a bid that was denied by the International Ski Federation in November 2012, before her first major knee injury in February 2013.

“In places where it makes sense, like Lake Louise, where I’ve had a lot of success and I feel very confident there, I would definitely like to race with the men still,” she said, “but right now, my form isn’t quite good enough. I need more training and more competitions in order to really be confident in saying I want to race with the men.”

Video: Steven Nyman records Val Gardena hat trick


Canada wins men’s hockey world title; Latvia wins first medal

IIHF Hockey World Championship

TAMPERE, Finland — Samuel Blais scored two goals to rally Canada to a 5-2 victory over Germany in the final of the world men’s hockey championship on Sunday.

It’s a record 28th world title for Canada, and its second in three years. Russia has 27 while Germany has never won the trophy.

Blais netted with a backhand 4:51 into the final period for a 3-2 lead for Canada, which was playing in its fourth straight final.

“It feels really good,” Blais said. “We’ve been in Europe for a month and we’ve all waited for that moment to play for the gold medal game. And we’re lucky enough to have won it.”

Lawson Crouse, Tyler Toffoli and Scott Laughton also scored for Canada, Peyton Krebs had two assists and goaltender Samuel Montembeault stopped 21 shots.

Toffoli stretched the lead to 4-2 from the left circle with 8:09 remaining and Laughton made it 5-2 with an empty net goal.

Adam Fantilli became only the second Canadian player after Jonathan Toews to win gold at the world juniors and world championship the same year.

Canada had to come back twice in the final.

John Peterka wristed a shot past Montembeault from the left circle 7:44 into the game. It was the sixth goal for the Buffalo Sabres forward at the tournament.

Blais was fed by Krebs to beat goaltender Mathias Niederberger and tie it 1-1 at 10:47.

Daniel Fischbuch put the Germans ahead again with a one-timer with 6:13 to go in the middle period.

Crouse equalized on a power play with 2:32 remaining in the frame.

It was the first medal for Germany since 1953 when it was second behind Sweden.

The two previously met just once in the final with Canada winning 6-1 in 1930.


Defenseman Kristian Rubins scored his second goal 1:22 into overtime to lead Latvia to a 4-3 victory over the United States and earn a bronze medal earlier Sunday.

It’s the first top-three finish for Latvia at the tournament. Its previous best was a seventh place it managed three times.

The U.S. lost in the bronze medal game for the second straight year. The U.S. team was cruising through the tournament with eight straight wins until it was defeated by Germany in the semifinal 4-3 in overtime.

Rubins rallied Latvia with his first with 5:39 to go in the final period to tie the game at 3 to force overtime.

Roberts Bukarts and Janis Jaks also scored for Latvia.

Rocco Grimaldi scored twice for the U.S. in the opening period to negate Latvia’s 1-0 and 2-1 leads.

Matt Coronato had put the U.S. 3-2 ahead 6:19 into the final period.

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2023 French Open women’s singles draw, scores

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At the French Open, Iga Swiatek of Poland eyes a third title at Roland Garros and a fourth Grand Slam singles crown overall.

Main draw play began Sunday, live on Peacock.

Swiatek, the No. 1 seed from Poland, can join Serena Williams and Justine Henin as the lone women to win three or more French Opens since 2000.

Turning 22 during the tournament, she can become the youngest woman to win three French Opens since Monica Seles in 1992 and the youngest woman to win four Slams overall since Williams in 2002.

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But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.

She retired from her most recent match with a right thigh injury last week and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion, are the top challengers in Paris.

No. 3 Jessica Pegula and No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, are the best hopes to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seles won the 1996 Australian Open.

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2023 French Open Women’s Singles Draw

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