Lindsey Vonn Wins World Cup Downhill

Mar 01, 2009 No Comments by

Lindsey Vonn has joined Picabo Street as the only Americans to win two straight World Cup downhill championships (associated press).

World Cup holder, and this season’s leader both in the downhill and overall standings, American Lindsey Vonn won the women’s world cup’s super-giant slalom race held in Bulgaria’s best winter resort of Bansko today.

Vonn won on Bansko’s Banderitsa ski run with a time of 1:14:49 minutes time, with the Swiss Fabienne Suter coming second with 58 seconds behind Vonn. Third was Slovenia’s Tina Maze, 91 seconds behind Vonn.

“It was a great race,” Vonn told Bulgarian National Television after the race. “I had a lot of fun”.

“The ski run was very good. I like it here in Bansko where the atmosphere is great. I hope I will return to Bulgaria soon,” she said.

Bulgaria’s only representative in the world cup this year, Maria Kirkova, finished 39th with a time of 1:22:10 minutes, 7.61 seconds behind Vonn.

It was the slowest time of all skiers, but Kirokva managed to win the applause of the several thousand spectators who cheered her for competing with the best. Bulgaria has never had an athlete competing in the women’s world cup events, which was what made Kirkova’s achievement so valuable for Bulgaria.

The 24-year-old Vonn clinched her second straight title by finishing 12th at a race in Bulgaria to match the feat first achieved by Street in 1995 and 1996.

“It’s so cool to join Picabo as the only American to win the downhill title twice.” Vonn said. “It really doesn’t seem like all that long ago when I met her at a poster signing in Minnesota and since then I’ve always looked up to her.”

Vonn was well down the field on Saturday, but her time of 1 minute 48.0 seconds was enough to win her the title with only one downhill remaining on the circuit.

“It felt strange to win the title then, without winning the race, but sometimes that’s how it goes,” Vonn said.

Vonn, recovering from a training fall in Bulgaria and an earlier thumb injury, remained on course to successfully defend her overall World Cup title with a 336-point lead over Maria Riesch of Germany.

Vonn, with her injured thumb in a splint and looking unsteady, finished 12th Saturday, 2.19 seconds behind Fischbacher. She missed the podium for the first time in seven events.

Still, it was enough to give her the downhill crown. Dominque Gisin of Switzerland, in second place, cannot cover the 111-point gap with one downhill left on the circuit.

Overall, the event has benn viewed as a huge success and has now placed Bansko firmly on the radar as a mountain resort to be reckoned with. The course for both downhill and super g was considered challenging. The atmosphere in town coinciding with Bulgaria’s four day holiday and today’s day of the martenitsa.

Chestita Baba Marta! (Happy Grandma Marta)

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