Shiffrin comes out on top in head-to-head Super-G with Vonn

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One chapter in the career of U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn came to a close on Sunday in Cortina d’Ampezzo, but it wasn’t the kind of ending she would have chosen.

Vonn was one of many skiers on Sunday who were unable to finish the Super-G course. After making it through the most technically difficult section, Vonn misjudged her line coming out of the shadows, hit a gate and was forced to pull up.

Sunday’s Super-G marked the final time Vonn would race in Cortina d’Ampezzo. With 12 wins over 18 years of competition, Vonn holds the all-time win record at the venue. Vonn’s legacy in Cortina was honored at Saturday night’s awards ceremony, where she was overcome with emotion.

On Sunday, a disappointed Vonn made her way to the finish, where her close friend and fierce competitor, Italy’s Sofia Goggia, greeted her with a bouquet of flowers before dropping down to bow to Vonn.

The U.S.’ Mikaela Shiffrin, as with the previous three World Cup Super-Gs this season, found a way to win in Cortina. Racing for the first time this weekend, Shiffrin started her run .30 hundredths of a second back at the first checkpoint. But as it is with Shiffrin, she stayed strong through the end of her run, making up time and crossing the finish line to take the lead by .16 hundredths of a second.

Joining Shiffrin on the podium were Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather and Austria’s Tamara Tippler. Full results are here.

Along with Vonn, some of the best World Cup Super-G skiers also struggled to finish. The winner of Friday and Saturday’s downhill races in Cortina, Austria’s Ramona Siebenhofer followed by Switzerland’s Michelle Gisin posted back-to-back DNFs on the same turn early in their runs.

Slovenia’s Ilka Stuhec, a dual-podium finisher in Cortina this weekend, also skied out in the Super-G. Eleven racers in all would not cross the finish line on Sunday.

This is the 54th World Cup win for Shiffrin, which ties her with Austria’s Hermann Maier on the all-time World Cup win list.

Shiffrin is also currently leading across four categories in World Cup competition, including the overall title.

On the men’s tour, it turned out to be a second-run slugfest in slalom to close out the weekend in Wengen. In the end, France’s Clement Noel won his first World Cup event, holding off Manny Feller of Austria, while slalom World Cup points leader Marcel Hirscher slipped to third, despite having the fastest second-run time. Full results are here.

Next week the women’s World Cup heads to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany to race the downhill and Super-G. Competition begins on Saturday, January 26 with the women’s downhill at 4:00 a.m. EST.

The men’s tour heads to Kitzbuehel, Austria for three races — Super-G, downhill and slalom. The Super-G gets things underway on Friday, January 25 at 5:30 a.m. EST.

Watch every race live on Olympic Channel or stream it live with NBC Sports Gold.

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Vincent Kriechmayr picks up World Cup downhill win

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“Mammas don’t let your babies grow up to be downhillers” was the sentiment offered by NBC Sports’ Steve Porino as the most experienced alpine racers attacked the downhill course in Wengen on Saturday.

Skiers like reigning Olympic downhill champion, Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal, in his 18th World Cup season, continue to find ways to will their bodies past pain to compete for the podium. After taking 10 days off to rest an ailing right knee, Svindal, skiing third, looked fresh and took the early lead.

Two skiers later, the reigning world champ and current World Cup points leader in downhill, Swiss skier Beat Feuz, thrilled his home-country crowd by bumping Svindal off the top spot by .38 hundredths of a second.    

But it was Austria’s Vincent Kriechmayr who ultimately mastered the treacherous hairpin turns and narrow snowy chutes in Wengen to win his second-career World Cup downhill race. Kriechmayer was in a dead heat with Feuz as he neared the finish, but commanded his skies into two near-perfect turns to claim the lead by .14 hundredths of a second.

Rounding out the podium behind Kriechmayr and Feuz was Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde in third. Full results are here.

Even the best downhillers in the world struggled to reach the finish line in Wengen. Austria’s Max Franz, second in the downhill World Cup point standings, crashed in his run, as did his countryman two-time Olympic champion Matthias Mayer.

The U.S.’ Steve Nyman gave spectators and fellow skiers a scare when he lost control during his run, going airborne for a moment, before coming to a stop in the middle of the course. Luckily, Nyman avoided becoming entangled in the protective fencing and was able to ski away seemingly unscathed.

Bryce Bennett continued to be the bright spot for the U.S. downhill skiers, finishing his day in fifth, .63 hundredths of a second behind Kriechmayr. Bennett has flirted with downhill podiums as of late, finishing fourth in two previous races this season.

Tomorrow the men’s World Cup wraps up its weekend in Switzerland with the slalom. Stream the first run live on OlympicChannel.com or on NBC Sports Gold starting at 4:15 a.m. EST. Watch the second and deciding run on TV on Olympic Channel or stream it on NBC Sports Gold at 7:15 a.m. ET.

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Lindsey Vonn finishes ninth in second downhill of season

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U.S. skiing superstar Lindsey Vonn was back for her second race in Cortina d’Ampezzo on Saturday, cracking the top 10, but still looking to recapture the speed necessary to win on the World Cup.

Ninth out of the gate, Vonn’s time gradually slipped behind leader, Austria’s Romona Siebenhofer, as she made her way to the bottom of the mountain. Vonn crossed the finish line with the fourth best time, but found herself in ninth after every skier had their say. Full results are here.

Friday marked Vonn’s return to World Cup competition after her season was put on hold when she injured her knee in November. Vonn’s history of injuries and the list of protective gear she now wears while racing are equally long. During Friday’s race, Vonn sported matching knee braces under her ski suit for the first time. Vonn even equips herself with a body airbag under her suit which deploys if she crashes.

“I wear two knee braces and an airbag and maybe I should just ski in bubble wrap. I’ve got a mouth guard. I’ve got a helmet, air bag, back protector, knee braces. I think that’s as much as really you can have, besides arm braces at this point,” Vonn said after Friday’s race according to the Associated Press.

Vonn is doing the best she can to adjust to the challenges caused by her newly-acquired accessories.

“It’s a little weird. Sometimes [the knee braces] click together,” Vonn said according to the Associated Press. “It’s definitely not aerodynamic, that’s for sure. But it’s better than not racing. Do what I got to do.”

Saturday’s downhill podium featured two skiers from Friday’s top three. Siebenhofer’s time was the best of the day once again as the Austrian won her second downhill in as many days. Second to Siebenhofer on the podium was her countrywoman, and downhill World Cup points leader, Nicole Schmidhofer, who finished in 12th in Friday’s race. Slovenia’s Ilka Stuhec followed up her second place finish from Friday with a return trip to the podium, this time in third.

Tomorrow the women’s World Cup wraps up in Italy with the super-G, with World Cup points leader in the event, the U.S.’ Mikaela Shiffrin, scheduled to race. Watch live on TV on Olympic Channel or stream it on NBC Sports Gold starting at 5:00 a.m. EST.

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