VAL d’ISERE, France (Dec. 19) – Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) regained the overall lead over German Maria Riesch, winning the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup super combined to sweep the weekend in Val d’Isere.
Sunday marked the second day this year for a USA double victory with Olympic Champion Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) on top in the Alta Badia, Italy giant slalom for his third straight GS win this season.
“I watched Ted’s run before I raced and it definitely motivated me,” Vonn said. “He skied amazingly well. He’s on an incredible roll right now and I’m really excited for him. It’s a great day for the U.S. Ski Team.”
Saturday, Vonn received one of the highest honors in global sport. The Associated Press, the world’s largest news agency, announced her as its Female Athlete of the Year – the first time a skier has received the honor.
The race will air at 11 a.m. ET on the Universal Sports TV network.
Soft snow and flat light did not stop Vonn from charging, crossing the super G finish line in 1:18.66 with a three-tenths cushion over Austria’s Nicole Hosp heading into the slalom portion.
“It’s really challenging, but the organizers did a great job with the hill. We got so much snow on Friday so it was still really soft conditions and really flat light. It was hard to see where the snow was good and where it was a little bit bumpy,” said Vonn. “It definitely was worse for later numbers, but I made the best of it.”
In the slalom run, times were tight making an exciting finish for the cheering crowd, where they witnessed four Americans land inside the top 30. Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA) was 15th, followed by World Cup rookie Laurenne Ross (Klamath Falls, OR) in 16th and Leanne Smith (Conway, NH) in 26th.
“There was a pretty good crowd for the second part of the combined for slalom,” said Head Coach Alex Hoedlmoser. “The energy was good.”
Vonn posted the fifth fastest slalom run, for a combined time of 2:07.80, building her lead on Hosp and the field to clinch her fourth super combined and 36th career World Cup win. Hosp finished third with Austria’s Elisabeth Goergl second.
“It was a good race, she had a good super G portion and then it got a little exciting in the middle of the slalom run,” said Hoedlmoser in reference to Vonn’s winning performance. “But at the bottom of the slalom she picked up some speed and skied really well.”
“It was an awesome weekend. I’m really happy,” said Vonn, who was flown to Courchevel by helicopter after the race for a live interview with France’s top sports network. “It’s always great to have a weekend like this, especially before Christmas. It gives me a lot of confidence going into the New Year.”
The women race slalom in Courchevel Tuesday, Dec. 21 before a short holiday break.
Audi FIS Alpine World Cup
Val d’Isere, France – Dec. 18, 2010
Super Combined (super G/slalom)
1. Lindsey Vonn, Vail, CO, 2:07.80
2. Elisabeth Goergl, Austria, 2:08.26
3. Nicole Hosp, Austria, 2:08.49
4. Anna Fenninger, Austria, 2:08.57
5. Maria Riesch, Germany, 2:09.05
15. Julia Mancuso, Squaw Valley, CA, 2:10.32
16. Laurenne Ross, Klamath Falls, OR 2:10.65
26. Leanne Smith, Conway, NH, 2:11.72
34. Stacey Cook, Mammoth, CA, 2:13.37
36. Megan McJames, Park City, UT, 2:15.15