Vonn, U.S. Women Continue to Crush

Ligety, on the verge of the Wengen podium, skis out near the finish.
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Ligety, on the verge of the Wengen podium, skis out near the finish.
Vonn at Cortina

Lindsey Vonn, the third-winningest racer in World Cup history, got back into the record-chasing business over the weekend with a win in the downhill at Cortina, Italy, and the American women continued to crowd the top of the speed-event leaderboards.

On the men’s side, it was Lauberhorn weekend in Wengen, Switzerland, where Italy’s Christof Innerhofer won the tour’s longest downhill. Marco Sullivan was the top American finisher in 13th. GS points leader Ted Ligety appeared headed for a second-place finish in the Wengen combined but skied out near the finish of his slalom run.

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Vonn’s win Saturday was No. 58 in her career, bringing her to within four of the winningest woman ever, Austria’s Anne Marie Moser-Pröll. With good snow and excellent visibility, she showed no signs of the illness and fatigue that have dogger her in recent weeks, edging overall points leader Tina Maze of Slovenia by .43 seconds. U.S. teammate Leanne Smith was third—her second podium finish of the season—.89 seconds behind Vonn. Julia Mancuso was ninth, Alice McKennis was 11th and Stacey Cook was 15th in yet another very strong day for the American women.

Battling heavy snowfall a day later, Mancuso led the U.S. women’s 5-6-7 sweep in super G. Mancuso was .69 seconds behind winner Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany. Maze was third. Smith was sixth, Vonn was seventh.

After the race, Smith was asked about the dominace this season of the women’s speed-events team, which holds four of the top six spots in the downhill rankings.

“We were joking about this yesterday on how to best answer this question. First we were like, 'We listen to Justin Bieber together,' or 'We all sleep in one big bed every night,' or 'We have these rituals....' But, no. There's a lot of hard workers on this team. Everybody wants to help each other out and see each other do well.”  

The speed-event women now set their sights on the World Championships next monthCK in Schladming, Austria. U.S. slalom phenom Mikaela Shiffrin gets back into action this weekend in GS and slalom races at Moribor. Ted Ligety and the U.S. men head to Kitzbuhel, Austria, for the famed Hahnenkamm weekend, which features downhill, super G and combined races.