The winningest downhiller of all time is no stranger to the seeing the green light after her run, but Lindsey Vonn’s win in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, was particularly emotional for the American. She broke into tears as she walked through the finish area and hugged competitors and coaches alike. With a final time of 1:43.41, Vonn earned her 39th downhill win and 77th World Cup win just two weeks after returning from injury.
“I just got to the bottom and I cried,” Vonn said. “I worked really hard to come back and, you know, I feel like sometimes I come back so quickly, everyone forgets how much time and energy, blood, sweat and tears it takes to come back without any training and just jump in there. And I had to trust myself and my team and my technician, and we all did our best, and today was just amazing.”
Just behind Vonn was Switzerland’s Lara Gut, earning 80 World Cup points. She was 0.15 seconds off the American’s pace. The third-place athlete was a special treat for the home crowd as Viktoria Rebensburg snagged the final spot on the podium, 0.48 seconds away from the win.
On the Kandahar slope, the challenges of the set reared its ugly head as athletes struggled to stay on the line and not get sucked low on the track. It took a combination of strength, tactics and sheer tenacity. Vonn also had the benefit of experience, being the only woman ever to win multiple downhills at the venue including victories in 2012 and 2016. In this year’s race, there was one gate, in particular, at the bottom of the course, which Vonn missed in training.
“I didn’t really try very hard to make the gate yesterday, so I knew as long as I stood on it and I gave myself a little bit of extra room just so that I carried the speed through that section,” Vonn said. “It wasn’t really in my head too much.”
For Gut, a small hiccup at the bottom of the course likely cost her the win, but she is confident that she can win when she executes her race plan.
“I’m pretty happy because I know I can be close to the win all the time if I ski the way I can,” Gut said.
Gut still sits in second place in the downhill standings with 260 points, just behind Slovenian Ilka Stuhec with 377 points. Stuhec skied to 8th in Saturday’s downhill.
For Rebensburg, the result was a bit of deja vu. The German was also third in the downhill last year at Garmisch, which was her most recent podium result in the discipline as well.
“I knew from the training that I felt pretty well down there, but the run didn’t feel that great because I think it was faster than yesterday, so the turns were pushing way more than yesterday also,” Rebensburg said. “Then, I thought I’m really down, but it was fast. I tried to keep the skis running, and yeah, I’m pretty happy about it.”
In total, Rebensburg has earned 33 career World Cup podiums in over 190 World Cup starts.
Breezy Johnson got a special birthday treat after earning a 11th-place result when the crowd serenaded her with “Happy Birthday” in the finish area. The young athlete turned 21 years old on Thursday. Behind her were veteran U.S. Ski Team athletes Laurenne Ross and Stacey Cook, tying for 18th place. Jacqueline Wiles, who earned her first World Cup podium last weekend, ended the day in 26th. Leanne Smith finished in 37th place. Teammate Alice Mckennis did not finish after her outside ski popped off unexpectedly in the middle of the course.
American Mikaela Shiffrin, who did not race the downhill, continues to lead in the overall standings with 1008 points. Gut is attempting close the gap and currently has 773 points. Stuhec is third in the overall standings with 616 points.
Women’s racing action continues in Garmisch on Sunday with a super-G race.
- Lindsey Vonn (USA) – Head / Head / Head
- Lara Gut (SUI) – Head / Head / Head
- Viktoria Rebensburg (GER) – Stoeckli / Lange / Marker
- Ramona Siebenhofer (AUT) – Head / Head / Head
- Sofia Goggia (ITA) – Atomic / Atomic / Atomic
- Nicole Schmidhofer (AUT) – Fischer / Fischer / Fischer
- Fabienne Suter (SUI) – Dynastar / Lange / Look
- Ilka Stuhec (SLO) – Stoeckli / Lange / Marker
- Tina Weirather (LIE) – Atomic / Atomic / Atomic
- Ricarda Haaser (AUT) – Fischer / Fischer / Fischer
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||Diff.|
|22||39||426043||TVIBERG Maria Therese||1994||NOR||1:45.93||+2.52|
|41||54||35089||SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena||1984||ARG||1:49.63||+6.22|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|51||426257||LIE Kajsa Vickhoff||1998||NOR|