Alpine skiing sensation Lindsey Vonn took first place in today’s Birds of Prey competition in Beaver Creek. Earning a .37 victory over Swiss Fabienne Suter. At this point Vonn has now won 14 of the last 19 super G’s, never finishing lower than third — which is absolutely amazing. This was more than just her 46th career Audi FIS Alpine World Cup win, it was the manifestation of a goal held close to Vonn’s heart since her childhood — to win the inaugural Birds of Prey! She is already one of the most celebrated and successful competitive skiers of all time, but winning in your home to the roaring cheers of your closest friends and family is an unforgetable experience.
Lindsey Vonn celebrates in the finish line after taking the lead in the Audi Birds of Prey super G. (U.S. Ski Team/Tom Kelly)
After the race, Vonn explained the significance of this win, “Ever since I moved out here as a kid and was a course slipper at the ’99 World Championships, I’ve always wanted to race here at home. The support that I’ve received from everyone in this community has been amazing. This is a day that I’ll remember for my entire life. Of the 46 wins that I have so far, this is probably the most special.”
Lindsey Vonn and her team of coaches celebrate her 46th Audi FIS World Cup win.(U.S. Ski Team/Tom Kelly)
This victory ties her with German Katja Seizinger for all-time World Cup super G wins with 16 total. Overall, Lindsey is now tied in second place with Austrian Renate Goetschl for third on the overall women’s win list. Her 46 wins puts her behind Swiss Vreni Schneider who has 55, and Austrian Annemarie Moeser-Proell who is at 62.
It was a strong showing by the rest of the women’s team as well; Julia Mancuso was eighth and Leanne Smith 11th.
Julia had this to say about her performance, “This hill is a lot of fun to ski and a lot of terrain, you really have to move. I’m skiing consistent so it’s always a good day when you can finish in the top 10.”
Leanne spoke to the prowess of the men and women, “Our entire team is skiing at such a high level right now and that’s inspiring for all of us. Bode and Ted’s wins were huge and what Lindsey and Julia are doing right now. The talent and momentum on the U.S. Ski Team right now is incredible.”
Lindsey Vonn waves and poses with a young fan wearing wings after her historic super G win at Beaver Creek (U.S. Ski Team/Doug Haney)
Vonn put a ton of weight on today’s competition describing her emotions at the start of the day, ”This morning I woke up and I was really anxious and nervous. My stomach has been in a knot all day. When I got to the start I was totally freaking out. I wanted to win in front of my home fans so badly, mentally I was a wreck.”
Beaver Creek’s Birds of Prey is said to be one of the most challenging courses in this year’s World Tour circuit. Lindsey had this to say about the course, “The Birds of Prey course at Beaver Creek has everything. There’s steeps, there’s side hills, there’s hard turns, it’s technical and always coming at you and the speeds are really high. It’s really a lot of fun to ski. I’d love to have Beaver Creek as a regular World Cup stop.”
The local community was just as excited to see Lindsey’s victory as she was to earn it in their honor. To show their support, the teachers in Vail declared the day a school holiday and gave the children permission to play hooky and watch today’s competition.
Lindsey Vonn celebrates with fans after winning the Audi Birds of Prey super G in Beaver Creek (Doug Haney/U.S. Ski Team)
Lindsey responded to the gesture with total class, and stayed out nearly an hour after the race to sign autographs for her dedicated fans, “I think it’s really awesome that the teachers in Vail gave all their kids an excused absence to get out of school to watch today. To have a race like this in their home town and to see the entire U.S. Ski Team ski well, I think that is extremely important for kids. It’s inspiring for kids to go out there and do their best and that’s really important. I’m going to sign as many helmets and jackets as I can to make sure they don’t get in trouble for missing school.”
Always the humble athlete, she closed with this, “I hope that I can keep skiing fast. I hope that I can continue to represent my fans and my team well. This is an incredible sport and I’m extremely fortunate and happy to be a skier.”
Here are the official results: