Lindsey Vonn finished ninth in a World Cup super-G in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, on Sunday and called it “a good first step” in her first super-G since returning from knee and arm injuries.
Vonn was 1.65 seconds slower than Swiss Lara Gut, who won after finishing second to Vonn in Saturday’s downhill. Full results are here.
Returning from a fractured knee and broken upper arm, Vonn’s previous two races were both downhills, starting with a 13th-place finish in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, last Sunday.
“Like in the downhill in Zauchensee, it took me one race to really get into it,” Vonn said. “I think today was positive. I didn’t ski my best. I had some trouble with the ice, but I will train some more.”
The women’s World Cup continues with a giant slalom in Kronplatz, Italy, on Tuesday, which Vonn is expected to skip.
Vonn, competing this month for the first time since last February, is next expected to race a downhill and super-G in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, on Saturday and Sunday and then the world championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland, in early February.
The last time worlds was in St. Moritz, in 2003, Vonn did not make the U.S. team at age 18, when she was known as Lindsey Kildow.
At that time, her best World Cup result was 23rd. However, Vonn had placed sixth in the 2002 Olympic combined, the only top 10 for the U.S. women at those Winter Games and the best Alpine finish by an American that young in Olympic history.
“My coaches didn’t think I was good enough,” Vonn said Sunday. “Now, I get my revenge. I get my second chance, and I hope I can prove everyone wrong.”
From the Denver Post in 2004:
Kildow lost a big chunk of last season when she caught a tip on a gate in the season’s first downhill at Lake Louise, Alberta, causing a severe strain of the hip flexor muscles in her left leg. Kildow had to be airlifted from the mountain.
‘It was pretty bad,’ Kildow said. ‘I thought I had ripped my leg off.’
The injury didn’t require surgery, but it kept her out of action for a month. When she returned, coaches kept her on the developmental Europa Cup for six weeks rather than rush her back into the World Cup, making it impossible for her to qualify for the world championships at St. Moritz, Switzerland.
‘After coming off sixth (place) in the Olympics, it would have been nice to race in the world championships because I definitely was skiing at that level,’ Kildow said. ‘I thought I had a chance of getting a podium.’
Gut came into the weekend 315 points behind U.S. Olympic slalom champion Mikaela Shiffrin in the standings for the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing. She leaves Garmisch having sliced Shiffrin’s lead to 135 points.
Gut and Shiffrin’s battle for the overall title could come down to the World Cup Finals in Aspen, Colo., in mid-March. Though Gut’s chances increase if Shiffrin continues to sit out speed races.
MORE: Vonn sets date on proposal to enter men’s raceFollow @nzaccardi