Fans could see the worry on Sofia Goggia’s face as the cameras cut to her intensely watching the race in the finish area of the final World Cup downhill in Are, Sweden. The Italian sat in second place, 0.06 seconds behind American Lindsey Vonn and with a three-point lead in the discipline standings. If anyone got between them–like Czech Republic’s Ester Ledecka or American Alice McKennis–Goggia’s dream of winning the globe would slip away instantly.
Racer after racer came down unable to match the rivals’ pace and the times held, though McKennis got close, sliding into third place just 0.28 seconds away from the win. When all 26 racers came across the finish line, it was official: Goggia had won the first World Cup globe of her career.
“I’ve been dreaming this since lifetime, and now I have it,” the Italian said in the finish area. “I really think it’s unbelievable. The last days were really tough. I was really exhausted and tired, and I used all the energy I had to perform my best in this race.”
The daredevil skier is just the fourth Italian woman to win a World Cup discipline globe, and the second to win a downhill globe. After the race, she said that winning the globe was confirmation that her Olympic gold medal in downhill was not a fluke. No doubt the combination of the two awards made for a dream season.
“It reminds me of the days when Maria [Hoefl-Reisch] and I were fighting for every single title, every single year, and now there’s new face and Sofia’s a great character,” Vonn said of her rivalry with the Italian. “She always gives it 110 percent and sometimes she wins, sometimes she crashes. I feel like it’s very similar to myself, so we have a great deal of respect for each other and it’s been fun competing with her this year.”
For Vonn, the victory brings her one step closer to the all-time wins record held by Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark, who had 86 World Cup victories in his career. The American now has 82 victories to her name, and could surpass the record next season.
In the shadow of the Goggia-Vonn rivalry, McKennis won a personal victory, returning to the podium for the first time since she won a downhill in St. Anton, Austria, in 2013. The American battled back from several injuries over the last few years and a disappointing 2016-17 season that she thought might mark the end of her career. After her fifth-place downhill performance in PyeongChang, McKennis carried her momentum into Finals, taking third.
“I mean I’m obviously incredibly excited and so stoked,” she shared. “It’s been a journey to get here again and to be on the podium again is amazing.”
The American was able to share the personal milestone with her family despite being so far from home.
“My dad is here, and it seems like whenever he’s around, I either do pretty well or really bad, so I think today he was a good luck charm,” McKennis said with a smile.
There were two other U.S. Ski Team members in the mix with Breezy Johnson skiing to eighth place while Stacey Cook did not finish.
Action continues on Thursday in Are, Sweden, with the final men’s and women’s super-G races of the season.
- Lindsey Vonn (USA) – Head / Head / Head
- Sofia Goggia (ITA) – Atomic / Atomic / Atomic
- Alice McKennis (USA) –Head / Head / Head
- Viktoria Rebensburg (USA) – Stoeckli / Lange / Marker
- Jasmine Flury (SUI) – Stoeckli / Lange / Marker
- Johanna Schnarf (ITA) – Fischer / Fischer / Fischer
- Tina Weirather (LIE) – Head / Head / Head
- Breezy Johnson (USA) – Atomic / Atomic / Atomic
- Nicole Schmidhofer (AUT) – Head / Head / Head
- Nadia Fanchini (ITA) –Dynastar / Lange / Look
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points||WC Points|
|23||21||426257||LIE Kajsa Vickhoff||1998||NOR||57.37||+1.72||38.63||0|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|Did not start 1st run|