Lake Louise sweep lifts Vonn's chances of defending overall World Cup championship title

By Kent Van Vleet
Real AspenDecember 6, 2012

Stomach problems last month that landed Lindsey Vonn in the Vail Valley Medical Center and cost her valuable training time also put her somewhat behind in the Olympic gold medalist’s chase to defend her overall World Cup championship.

But a major bounce-back weekend at Lake Louise Nov. 30-Dec. 2 gave Vonn a three-race sweep there for the second straight year and moved her all the way up from 53rd to third in the hunt for her American-record fifth overall title. Winning three straight races (two downhills and a super G) also gave Vonn sole possession of second place on the career World Cup wins list with 56.

Vonn set a record by becoming the first ski racer ever, male or female, to win three races at the same venue in two different years. And her seven consecutive downhill wins at Lake Louise are a women’s record.

“Lindsey’s record-breaking performance this past weekend truly exemplifies what an extraordinary champion she is as very few athletes have ever so decisively dominated their sport as she has,” Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts, said in a press release on Tuesday.

Lindsey Vonn in Aspen.
Troy Hooper

“We’re incredibly proud to support Lindsey and wish her our deepest congratulations for breaking more records this past weekend. We’ll be cheering for her throughout the rest of this season.”

Vonn, who moved to Vail from Minnesota in the 1990s to train with Ski and Snowboard Club Vail, is now sponsored by Vail Resorts and represents all seven of its ski mountains: Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood.

Despite her resurgence, Vonn is still behind the torrid pace she set last season when she won an American record 12 races. By the time the World Cup circuit left North America in early December and headed to Europe for the rest of the 2011-12 season, Vonn has already won five races compared to the three she’s tallied so far this season.

Last season Vonn won the opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, swept Lake Louise and then won a super G at Beaver Creek that was a makeup for a race cancelled in Val d-Isere, France, due to a lack of snow. Vonn then went on to win seven more races and the overall title.

If she does that again this season, Vonn will overtake retired Austrian legend Annemarie Moeser-Proll for the all-time women’s career victory title (62 wins).

“This weekend was a huge boost for my confidence,” Vonn said on Sunday. “I was definitely feeling extremely low after being in the hospital and my poor result in Aspen [21st in the GS on Nov. 24]. But I knew if there was a place to turn it around, it was Lake Louise. So I just tried to get myself every opportunity to rest and recover for the races this weekend.”

On the men’s side, Park City’s Ted Ligety jumped right back into the overall chase with a fourth-place finish in the Birds of Prey super G on Saturday and a 1.73-second win in the GS on Sunday at Beaver Creek. Ligety, also an Olympic gold medalist, now has 13 career World Cup wins and trails Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal 320 points to 400 in the chase for the men’s overall title.

“Winning the overall has been a big goal of mine since I started ski racing,” Ligety said. “I think it's attainable, but with Aksel (Lund Svindal) skiing as well as he is, if he keeps that going, he’s going to be tough to beat. It will be difficult, but I have a better chance this year than I have had in the past.”


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