Alice McKennis underlined the depth of American alpine skiing with her maiden World Cup downhill victory in St Anton yesterday.
While all eyes were on fellow-American Lindsey Vonn, who was making her comeback following a three-week break, McKennis stole the show.
The Colorado skier, 23, was the fourth US downhill specialist on a World Cup podium this season after Vonn, Stacey Cook and Leanne Smith, while Mikaela Shiffrin has emerged as a slalom sensation this winter.
Vonn took time off to deal with health and personal problems after crashing out of a giant slalom in Courchevel a month ago.
The four-times World Cup champion had to be content with sixth place, 0.34 seconds behind her compatriot who won in a time of 1 minute, 14.62 seconds.
McKennis’ best result in the World Cup before yesterday had been seventh in the World Cup finals in Schladming last season.
Italy’s Daniela Merighetti was second, 0.07 seconds adrift, while Austria’s Anna Fenninger was 0.16 off the pace and finished third.
World Cup leader Tina Maze of Slovenia was a solid fourth, 0.30 behind, and took her overall lead to 488 points over Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch.
Men’s Giant Slalom
AFP, ADELBODEN, Switzerland
American Ted Ligety claimed victory in the men’s World Cup giant slalom yesterday, safely negotiating a testing second leg that was the downfall of a raft of racers.
Ligety timed a combined total of 2 minutes 28.67 seconds for a fourth victory on the international circuit this season, 1.15 seconds ahead of Germany’s Fritz Dopfer. The podium was completed by a second German, Felix Neureuther.
Austrian favorite Marcel Hirscher, who had led after the first leg, dramatically missed a gate in a tricky lower part of the second run when he was leading by more than one second. He eventually finished in 16th spot.
“I was very lucky. Marcel Hirscher won this race today,” Ligety said. “He would have blown me out of the water.”