Finally a sunny day in Whistler as the women took to the Olympic downhill and Lindsey Vonn has claimed something new for her trophy case–an Olympic gold medal. U.S. Teammate Julia Mancuso took the silver, .56 back from Vonn. Austria’s Elisabeth Goergl took the bronze.
Cold overnight temperatures kept the course firm, yet several bumps made it hard for the athletes to stay on edge. After some women took spills and several course holds, Vonn charged down–letting nothing stop her. When she reached the finish, she collapsed with joy, a huge smile across her face.
Sweden’s Anja Paerson seemed like she might overtake Vonn, or at least Mancuso, and was gaining on her through the splits. Paerson got back however and then flew through the air off one of the jumps before crashing on the flats, her skis exploding off her feet. Vonn watched from the bottom, covering her face with her hands in worry.
Next up? Vonn’s friend from Germany, Maria Riesch, but even she couldn’t overtake Vonn–nor Mancuso. Riesch uncharacteristically was comparitively slow.
Many had doubted whether or not Vonn could win–let alone ski. Vonn injured her shin just weeks earlier, claiming the pain was worse than anything she had ever felt before. Regardless, the double World Champion didn’t seem to be feeling anything but attack–and then glory today.
Congratulations to Lindsey Vonn as she becomes the first US woman to win an Olympic downhill ski race!