Alpine ski racing | Stacey Cook matches career best
Stacey Cook treated her family to quite a show in Lake Louise.
With her mom and dad in attendance – making the trip to Alberta from their Sierra Valley home – the Truckee native followed up her first-ever podium Friday with an identical second-place finish behind teammate Lindsey Vonn in an Audi FIS Alpine World Cup downhill Saturday.
“I hope this is the tip of the iceberg for me,” Cook said of her back-to-back downhill podiums. “My coaches have told me that I’m like a fine wine – that I get better with age, and it’s true. I just hope the body holds out with the age. This has been a long time coming and I’m just now starting to believe that this is actually happening.”
The reigning champion U.S. women’s speed team placed six athletes in the top 20, as Squaw Valley skier Julia Mancuso finished ninth, Alice McKennis was 11th, Laurenne Ross 18th and Leanne Smith 20th.
Vonn came back from the brink of disaster to win her 55th career World Cup, matching the great Swiss Vreni Schneider for second in the all-time wins list. Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell holds the record with 62.
Already .24 behind, Vonn went wide on a sweeping turn before the midway point of the course, losing valuable time. But she nailed the bottom of the run to take a .52 second margin over Cook and extend her win streak on the Canadian Rockies course to six.
“There was a second there that I actually thought I might win this thing, but Lindsey is amazing,” said Cook, who posted a time of 1:53.42 to Vonn’s 1:52.90. “When she made that mistake my heart actually stopped for a second. She’s amazing. She’s the only athlete that could stop on course and then still win.”
Vonn said she caught the inside of her ski and almost went into the fencing, but she managed to recover. She said she’s never won a race after committing such a major mistake on course.
“Over the last few years I’ve really worked on getting stronger, and that helps recover from mistakes like that one. It’s not the way you want to ski, but it helps my confidence to know that I can recover from them,” said Vonn, whose win marked her 13th all time at Lake Louise.
Vonn and Cook are one-two in the downhill standings.