American ski superstar Lindsey Vonn claimed her eighth career downhill victory at Lake Louise by dominating the season-opening World Cup women’s speed race on Friday.
“I just have always had such a good feeling here,” Vonn said. “That track suits me so well. I feel at home. It can’t be more peaceful and amazing with the mountains here.”
Vonn, who posted her 22nd career downhill victory overall, finished in a time of 1 minute, 53.19 seconds to easily beat runner up Tina Weirather by almost two seconds.
Weirather, of Liechtenstein, was second in 1 minute, 55.14 seconds, while Switzerland’s Dominique Gisin was third in 1 minute, 55.25 seconds. Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg finished fourth (1 minute, 55.29 seconds) and Mariella Voglreiter of Austria (1 minute, 55.55 seconds) rounded out the top five.
“I mean, two seconds, that’s crazy,” Gisin said. “We will try to be a little bit closer to Lindsey tomorrow. That’s probably the only thing you can hope for.”
The US alpine speed queen Vonn was skiing for the first time since announcing she is to divorce her husband and coach, Thomas Vonn, after four years of marriage.
She now has nine career wins at Lake Louise, including a super-G victory last year.
The 27-year-old Vonn has claimed at least one World Cup victory in Lake Louise for the past eight years, including sweeping both downhills two years ago at the ski resort in the Canadian Rockies.
Vonn, who is fourth on the women’s career list with 43 World Cup wins, will get another chance to add to her Lake Louise medal haul in a second downhill that was scheduled for yesterday and then a super-G race today.
Starting from the 40th position, the 21-year-old Weirather claimed the first downhill podium of her career. She competed in the Turin Olympics in 2006 as a 16-year-old, finishing 33rd in the super-G.
Gisin also placed third in one of two Lake Louise downhills last year. She finished 15th in the other downhill event.
Swedish star Anja Paerson finished 17th with a time of 1 minute, 55.93 seconds .
Rebensburg leads the overall World Cup standings with 230 points, while Vonn is just eight points back in second. Elisabeth Goergl of Austria is third with 151 points.