Ilka Stuhec

Ilka Stuhec
AP

Stuhec won’t have knee surgery for torn knee ligament

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GENEVA — Two-time downhill world champion Ilka Stuhec says she will try to return next season from a left knee injury without surgery.

Stuhec crashed into the safety nets at a World Cup downhill on Saturday in Crans-Montana, though she got up and skied down to the finish area.

The Slovenian racer says in an Instagram post the “outcome is not that bad as first thought.”

She says she tore the posterior cruciate ligament “but I can make it without surgery.”

Stuhec retained her world title this month in Are, Sweden, after missing the entire 2018 season after tearing the ACL in her left knee.

Slovenia’s Stuhec wins back-to-back world championship downhills

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As with many of the speed races at this year’s world championships, the women’s downhill was run on a shortened course due to Mother Nature whipping up the winds in Are.

The U.S.’ Lindsey Vonn was the sentimental favorite of the day, skiing in the last race of her career.

Vonn did hold the lead early in the event, but Slovenia’s Ilka Stuhec was the eventual winner, crossing the finish line .49 hundredths of a second faster than Vonn. For two consecutive world championships, Stuhec has won downhill gold. Her first win was in 2017.

It appeared that Vonn might leave with the silver medal until Switzerland’s Corinne Suter, skiing 19th on the day, fearlessly held her tuck in the fastest sections on course to cross the finish line .26 hundredths of a second faster than Vonn. Vonn’s time stood as the third best on the day. A happy ending for the legendary U.S. skier who only recently decided to call it quits, saying her body simply could not go on.

Full results are here.

Stuhec has three World Cup downhill podium finishes this season, but just one of those was for the win.

A trio of Austrians have owned the World Cup downhill this season. Ramona Siebenhofer and Nicole Schmidhofer have two World Cup downhill wins apiece, with Stephanie Venier holding one. All finished off the world championship podium in Are.

The men’s Super combined is next up on the world championship docket tomorrow morning, beginning with the downhill at 5:00 a.m. ET followed by the slalom at 8:30 a.m. Watch the downhill live on TV or streaming on Olympic Channel or with an NBC Sports Gold Snow Pass. The slalom can be seen live on TV and streaming on NBCSN as well as NBC Sports Gold.

The U.S.’ Mikaela Shiffrin is expected to race in Are on Thursday in the giant slalom and again on Saturday in the slalom. Check out the full schedule for the remaining events at the 2019 Alpine World Ski Championships below.

ALPINE SKIING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP — Are, Sweden

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Monday 5:00 a.m. Men’s Super Combined – Downhill Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. Men’s Super Combined – Downhill* NBCSN
8:30 a.m. Men’s Super Combined – Slalom NBCSN NBCSN/NBC Sports Gold
Tuesday 9:55 a.m. Team Event NBCSN NBCSN/NBC Sports Gold
Thursday 8:00 a.m. Women’s Giant Slalom (Run 1) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
10:30 a.m. Women’s Giant Slalom (Run 1)* NBCSN
11:30 a.m. Women’s Giant Slalom (Run 2) NBCSN NBCSN/NBC Sports Gold
Friday 8:00 a.m. Men’s Giant Slalom (Run 1) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
11:00 a.m. Men’s Giant Slalom (Run 2) NBCSN NBCSN
11:30 a.m. Men’s Giant Slalom (Run 2) NBC Sports Gold
Saturday 5:00 a.m. Women’s Slalom (Run 1) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
7:00 a.m. Women’s Slalom (Run 1)* NBCSN
8:00 a.m. Women’s Slalom (Run 2) NBCSN NBCSN/NBC Sports Gold
1:00 p.m. Women’s Slalom* NBC
Sunday 5:00 a.m. Men’s Slalom (Run 1) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
7:00 a.m. Men’s Slalom (Run 1)* NBCSN
8:00 a.m. Men’s Slalom (Run 2) NBCSN NBCSN/NBC Sports Gold

*Same-day delay

Ilka Stuhec, downhill world champ, gets first win since ACL tear

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SELVA DI VAL GARDENA, Italy (AP) — It was just about a year ago when Ilka Stuhec gave up on competing at the PyeongChang Olympics.

Coming off a career season that included a downhill world title and the season-long World Cup downhill title, Stuhec rushed back on snow two months after knee surgery.

“I said I really want to ski in 2017, so I went Dec. 31,” Stuhec said. “Because there was still some part of me that believed I could make the Olympics. But I would just go there without confidence, without training, not really trusting the knee. So I let that one go really soon.

“It hurt a lot,” Stuhec added of her New Year’s Eve return to snow.

The Slovenian skier quickly switched her focus to this season. Her patience paid off when she won a World Cup downhill on Tuesday for the first victory of her comeback.

Stuhec finished .14 of a second ahead of Nicol Delago, who grew up alongside the Saslong course in the Italian Dolomites. Ramona Siebenhofer of Austria came third, 0.51 behind. Full results are here.

“It’s really emotional because it’s been a very, very long time since I won,” Stuhec said. “And over the last year a lot of things were very different than I was planning.”

Stuhec missed all of last season tearing her left ACL in an October 2017 preseason training crash in Pitztal, Austria.

She watched the Olympics in February from home — “I was the crazy fan waking up at three in the morning” — and wasn’t quite satisfied with her initial results this season, cracking the top 10 once in her opening four races.

“I had very high goals when I started racing again,” she said. “But that also meant that I put a lot of pressure on myself, which didn’t come out that well, and I thought, ‘OK, this not going to go so well.’ So I just need to focus on the moment, ski the way I know and have fun and not think about how fast it’s going to be.”

While Stuhec wasn’t perfect Tuesday, she was unbeatable on the Saslong course, which is hosting women’s World Cup races for the first time — despite being a classic stop on the men’s circuit for a half-century.

The course was shortened for the women, and many of the technical sections were left out, including the camel bump jumps — prompting some racers to complain that it wasn’t challenging enough.

“I liked it a lot from the first (training) run,” Stuhec said. “In the end it’s still downhill, which is never easy, even if it maybe looks like that sometimes.”

A super-G is scheduled for Wednesday on the Saslong.

The races were originally scheduled for Val d’Isere, France, over the weekend but were moved to Val Gardena because of a lack of snow in the French resort.

Nicole Schmidhofer, the Austrian who won the opening two downhills of the season, finished 10th. She still leads the downhill standings by 68 points ahead of Stuhec.

Skier-snowboarder Ester Ledecka, fastest in the second training run, finished 29th following a series of errors.

Overall World Cup leader Mikaela Shiffrin is sitting out the races to rest up for a big block of upcoming technical events — her specialty — beginning Friday and Saturday in Courchevel, France.

Also missing are Lindsey Vonn and Olympic downhill gold medalist Sofia Goggia, who are out injured until at least January.

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