Lindsey Vonn

Lindsey Vonn wins Worlds super-G bronze behind Anna Fenninger

1 Comment

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.”

Complete results

She captured her sixth career World Championships medal, breaking her tie with Bode MillerTed 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.

World Championships: Men’s preview | Women’s preview | Broadcast schedule

Women’s Super-G
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

Olympic, world champion lugers pull out of World Cup event over safety

Getty Images
Leave a comment

U.S. Olympic silver medalist Chris Mazdzer and other top lugers are skipping this weekend’s World Cup stop in Winterberg, Germany, citing unsafe track conditions and a growing frustration with the international federation over athlete concerns.

“This was brought to the attention of the FIL [International Luge Federation] and yet again we were told that everything is ok,” was posted on Mazdzer’s Instagram. “I realize that a boycott is a lose-lose situation and there are no winners. But I have no other option at this point. I feel personally that this track is not safe for doubles sleds or for athletes who do not have adequate numbers of runs.”

Mazdzer said by phone Friday that he noticed significant bumps on the track in his first training run earlier this week.

“I couldn’t drive because I’m being thrown everywhere,” he said. “When you’re going 130 kilometers an hour [80 miles per hour], you don’t really want the track to be bad.”

An FIL spokesperson said Friday that Mazdzer’s choice was “his individual decision” and declined further comment ahead of races scheduled Saturday and Sunday. Mazdzer said that he was told the race starts will be moved down.

USA Luge said in a Friday statement that it will not participate in the World Cup and would communicate its concern for athlete safety to the FIL.

Two-time U.S. Olympian Summer Britcher said she was boycotting via Instagram, calling it “a farce of a World Cup.” Top lugers said athletes suffered serious injuries in training runs.

“I love this sport, but after too many decisions too many times that disregard 1-the safety of the athletes, and 2- the integrity and fairness of our sport, I have grown a great disdain for the International Luge Federation, and those who make these decisions,” was posted on Britcher’s account. “I will not race this weekend. I do not believe the track is safe, I do not believe it has been prepared to a World Cup standard, and I do not believe that the International Federation and Winterberg World Cup organisers should get away from this with no consequences.”

Britcher’s post noted that her team notified coaches and the technical director that the track was unsafe after her first training run Wednesday.

“Our concerns, and the concerns of the rest of the athletes from other nations throughout the day were not taken seriously,” Britcher posted.

Britcher said that several coaches attempted to fix the track for several hours on Thursday after athletes refused to train.

Olympic champion David Gleirscher of Austria and World Cup standings leader Roman Repilov of Russia and the top doubles teams of Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken and Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt of Germany also posted on Instagram that they’re skipping the Winterberg World Cup, the penultimate stop of the season, for safety reasons.

Mazdzer estimated a 20 percent crash rate in training, but that the track condition has improved since Wednesday. He still plans to race next week at the last World Cup in Königssee.

“There’s a lot of problems with Winterberg,” he said after detailing the situation between athletes and the FIL, “and it’s not just the track.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: World Bobsled, Skeleton Championships TV Schedule

Lara Gut-Behrami gets first win in 2 years; Mikaela Shiffrin’s lead shrinks

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami, the last woman other than Mikaela Shiffrin to win a World Cup overall title, notched her first World Cup race victory in two years on Friday. Meanwhile, chasers gained on the absent Shiffrin in this season’s overall standings.

Gut-Behrami led a host-nation one-two in a downhill in Crans-Montana. She was followed by downhill standings leader Corinne Suter (eight tenths behind) and Austrian Stephanie Venier (.92 back). Full results are here.

Shiffrin has not raced since the unexpected death of her father on Feb. 2. She has not announced if or when she will return this season.

Slovakian Petra Vlhova was fourth on Friday for her best career World Cup speed race finish. Vlhova, Shiffrin’s top rival in slalom the last few seasons, moved to 104 points behind Shiffrin in the World Cup overall standings through 27 of 40 scheduled races.

Race winners receive 100 points on a descending scale through the 30th-place skier. The season runs through March 22.

American Breezy Johnson was fifth, tying her best World Cup finish in nearly two years. Italian Federica Brignone tied for seventh, moving 77 points shy of Shiffrin’s lead.

Vlhova or Brignone can pass Shiffrin with similar finishes in Saturday’s downhill (4:30 a.m. ET, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and NBC Sports Gold) and a podium in Sunday’s combined (7:30 a.m. ET, Olympic Channel and Gold).

Gut-Behrami, a 25-time World Cup race winner, was the world’s top skier in 2016. She was in second place to Shiffrin in the 2017 World Cup overall standings when she ruptured her left ACL and sustained meniscus damage. Shiffrin since won the last three overall titles.

Friday marked Gut-Behrami’s first win since Jan. 21, 2018. She recently went nearly one year between podium finishes.

“Sometimes, I’ve been struggling with myself and putting myself under pressure because I wanted to do it again,” Gut-Behrami said. “Then I started thinking, and then I made mistakes.”

Suter, who came into the season without a World Cup win, leads the downhill season standings by 120 points. She can clinch her first World Cup discipline title in Saturday’s penultimate downhill.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Alpine skiing season TV schedule