Lindsey Vonn overcame a brief scare to win her 68th World Cup race, a downhill at her favorite course in Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday.
The 2010 Olympic downhill champ prevailed by a comfortable .58 of a second over Austrian Cornelia Huetter for her first victory this season in the first speed race of the campaign. Another Austrian, Ramona Siebenhofer, took third. Full results are here.
“I kind of feel old, all the other girls on the podium with me are very young,” said Vonn, 31, of sharing a podium with women aged 23 and 24. “I kind of felt relieved to be on the top step of the podium again today and to reassert myself as someone who’s not going away in the speed events.”
Vonn, coming back from fracturing an ankle in an August training crash, washed out in her previous start, a giant slalom last weekend.
On Friday, Vonn was on pace to win by a larger margin before she lost control coming around a turn about halfway down the course, forced to widen her stance to keep from falling. She recovered, though her lead dropped to .09 at the next split.
“I did the splits,” Vonn said, according to media in Lake Louise. “I thought I was going down, then I somehow managed to stay on my feet. When I realized I was still in the course, I just got back into my tuck and tried to make up as much time as I could on the bottom.”
The four-time World Cup overall champion raised her arms after seeing her standing at the finish, dropped to the snow and blew a kiss to the crowd.
Vonn has now won 16 times in 39 starts at Lake Louise, nicknamed “Lake Lindsey,” extending her record for a skier at a single venue.
She moved closer to the overall World Cup wins record of 86 held by retired Swede Ingemar Stemark, after breaking the women’s mark last season.
Vonn will be favored to win two more times this weekend, with a downhill Saturday and a super-G Sunday in Lake Louise.
Olympic slalom champion Mikaela Shiffrin will join the field for the super-G in her World Cup speed event debut. Both races will air live on NBC Sports Live Extra.
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