Lindsey Vonn won her first major championship medal in four years, bronze in the World Championships super-G behind Austrian Anna Fenninger, who followed her Olympic title with Worlds gold.
Vonn, who crashed in the 2013 World Championships super-G, requiring the first of two right leg surgeries that forced her to miss the Sochi Olympics, was .15 of a second behind Fenninger in Beaver Creek, Colo.
Slovenia’s Tina Maze, the 2013 World champion, snagged silver in wind conditions that Vonn called “ridiculous” and forced the start to be moved down and delayed by 30 minutes.
“That’s unfortunate for a World Championship event,” Vonn said of the wind on NBCSN. “I’m disappointed, but at the same time, I’m happy. A World Championships medal is always a good thing.”
Vonn, the 2009 World super-G champion, entered as the race favorite after winning the last two World Cup super-Gs before Worlds in January.
But Vonn was the 17th fastest skier in the opening section of the course — about the first 13 seconds. Fenninger was .61 better.
And Vonn knew she was slow, perhaps held back by a wind gust.
“My mindset was that I’m screwed,” Vonn said in a press conference, adding she wished she could have a do-over. “It’s not a very positive way to start the run. … Sometimes good skiing is enough to overcome the weather, and sometimes it’s not. Today it wasn’t enough, but I have to say that Fenninger skied exceptionally well. She definitely deserved to win the gold medal today.”
She captured her sixth career World Championships medal, breaking her tie with Bode Miller, Ted Ligety and Julia Mancuso for most by an American.
Vonn will next race in the downhill Friday. Again, she is the favorite.
“Hopefully have some more fair weather conditions,” Vonn said on NBCSN. “I came in here confident. I still am.”
Vonn, the 18th skier to go Tuesday, took the lead for about 2 minutes. Maze, skiing 19th, snatched it away before Fenninger, skiing 22nd, took the advantage for good.
“I didn’t know that it was so fast, so I was surprised in the finish line that the green light was on [indicating I had the lead],” Fenninger told NBC Sports’ Carolyn Manno.
Fenninger became the first woman to win back-to-back Olympic and Worlds super-G gold medals.
“It was a big dream to be a World champion in the super-G,” Fenninger said. “I had the luck that I could be an Olympic medalist in the super-G … that I can be World champion, too, is so amazing.”
Maze is expected to enter all five races at the World Championships, and she could win a medal in each of them. She owns 11 combined Olympic and Worlds medals.
Julia Mancuso, who won Worlds bronze in the super-G in 2013, finished ninth Tuesday.
The men’s super-G is on Wednesday, including defending champion Ligety and, possibly, Miller in his first race of the season following November back surgery.
Gold: Anna Fenninger (AUT) — 1:10.29
Silver: Tina Maze (SLO) — 1:10.32
Bronze: Lindsey Vonn (USA) — 1:10.44
9. Julia Mancuso (USA) — 1:11.94
13. Stacey Cook (USA) — 1:12.22
15. Laurenne Ross (USA) — 1:12.30