Vonn, Cook, Mancuso sweep World Cup downhill podium in Lake Louise
LAKE LOUISE, Alberta, Canada — Lindsey Vonn reclaimed her title as Queen of the Downhill at Lake Louise on Saturday.
Vonn won her 60th Audi FIS Ski World Cup while capping a first-ever U.S. Ski Team podium sweep along with Truckee’s Stacey Cook and Squaw Valley’s Julia Mancuso.
At the World Cup dubbed Lake Lindsey, Vonn regained her crown as she pulled out the win by almost a half second. The early-running Cook took the lead and held it until Vonn bumped her into second. Mancuso rounded out the podium in third. It was the best finish in two seasons for all three athletes.
“I always thought this was something possible with our team,” Cook said. “I really wanted to be a part of it when it happened. It’s a good day to step up. I’m so excited for Lindsey too. It’s a cool day.”
The results marked the first ever all-American podium in alpine World Cup ski racing. Along with Laurenne Ross’ sixth-place finish, the U.S. women placed four racers in the top 10.
Of Vonn’s 60 career World Cup wins, 15 have come in Lake Louise. Vonn looked fast and strong Saturday, keeping her speed up throughout the run and never losing the lead. When she crossed through the finish and looked up at the time, she let out a scream of excitement, thrilled to be back in action after missing most of the 2013-14 season with a knee injury.
“Every day has gotten better here,” Vonn said. “Today I went a little bit more aggressive than I did yesterday and took some more chances. I’m finally feeling confident going fast again.”
The rest of the Americans had to deal with a dark, snowy course, but had good results. Alice McKennis was 18th, Jackie Wiles 37th and Katie Ryan 46th.
“It’s cool because both of the girls on the podium with me are my age. We’re all the same age — born in ’84 — and we’re veterans of the World Cup,” Mancuso said. “We’ve all been working very hard and I’ve grown up with both of them. It’s an awesome day.”
Mancuso, Cook contribute to strong U.S. showing
Mancuso and Cook were among four U.S. women to record top-10 finishes in Friday’s Lake Louise downhill.
Ross led the U.S. team in fourth and was followed by Mancuso in seventh, Vonn in eighth and Cook in ninth. Tina Maze of Slovenia took the win.
Americans Jackie Wiles and Alice McKennis also finished in the points (top 30), placing 21st and 28th, respectively.
On the final day of racing Sunday, Vonn led the American contingent with another podium finish, as she placed second in the season-opening super G while Mancuso was sixth.
Lara Gut of Switzerland took the win and Maze rounded out the podium.
Mancuso had a solid run, sitting in fifth for 15 racers, until Cornelia Huetter from Austria bumped her to sixth place overall. Cook and Ross also scored World Cup points, finishing in 23rd and 24th, respectively. Ryan finished 42nd, McKennis 43rd, Wiles 47th and Abby Ghent 52nd.
“I am so happy with my results this weekend,” Vonn said. “It was so much more than I had hoped for. I didn’t really know what to expect coming in and I kept making improvements every day. I think it was all around a perfect weekend and a perfect way to start the season.”