Lindsey Vonn won her first Olympic Gold medal on Wednesday after battling through a potentially Olympic-ending injury. Although there was talk of her not competing, there were no outward signs of discomfort as the 25-year-old Vonn flew down the track, winning the race by 0.56 seconds – a fairly wide margin. Imagine how she’d do without the injury. A series a gnarly crashes also brought attention to the event. View them here:
Women’s Downhill Crashes from NBC
Whistler (AFP) – American Lindsey Vonn won the women’s downhill gold at the Winter Olympics on Wednesday. Team-mate Julia Mancuso took the silver with Austrian Elisabeth Goergl winning the bronze.
Alpine speed queen Lindsey Vonn lived up to expectations by winning the United States’ first ever Olympic gold in the women’s downhill on Wednesday.
Vonn, the winner of five consecutive downhills in the World Cup this season, produced a flawless performance on the technically challenging Franz’s Run to finish in a winning time of 1min 44.19sec.
Teammate Julia Mancuso finished second at 0.56sec to take a surprise silver with Austrian Elisabeth Goergl winning the bronze.
An ecstatic Vonn said her victory was made even better by Mancuso finishing second.
“It’s one of the most incredible moments of my life,” said the 25-year-old American. “When I crossed the finish line and saw my name in first and Julia’s second, it was just the coollest thing.”
Vonn’s maiden Olympic medal comes four years after her bid was hampered by injuries sustained in training for the downhill during the Turin Games in 2006.
As well as making alpine history for the US, Vonn is also the first American woman to win Olympic gold in an alpine speed event since childhood hero Picabo Street won super-G gold at the Nagano Games of 1998.
Against expectations, Mancuso fired out the start hut to produce an inspired run that was enough to knock Austria’s Elisabeth Goergl of Austria off the top spot of the provisional podium.
Goergl had started with bib number five and went on to scorch the course, however the Austrian just avoided a spectacular crash when she landed after the last big jump with her ski tips pointing dangerously downwards.
Mancuso, the giant slalom champion from Turin, has been searching for good downhill form all season but she was eventually guaranteed a medal after Anja Paerson crashed and then Maria Riesch failed to shine.
Paerson was in silver medal position going into the final jump just before the finish line but the Swedish ace, like many of the field, found big air and landed awkwardly on one ski, eventually crashing out.
The Swede, who won three medals including slalom gold and downhill bronze in Turin, was immediately taken to hospital by a doctor for checks, according to organisers.
The only other racer left to challenge Vonn, German rival and friend Riesch, failed to produce the kind of challenge most were expecting, finishing way off the pace.