GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany: US ski queen Lindsey Vonn says things ‘couldn’t be better’ ahead of the Olympics after claiming her 81st World Cup win on Sunday to complete the downhill double at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the final races before the Winter Games.
Vonn clocked one minute, 37.92 seconds with Italy’s Sofia Goggia, the current overall downhill leader, just behind in second at 0.11 secs back.
Tina Weirather of Lichtenstein was third at 0.12 secs.Vonn also pipped Goggia in Saturday’s downhill in Garmisch to give her the perfect warm-up before the PyeongChang Games.She has won the last three downhill races on the World Cup circuit after also claiming victory in Cortina d’Ampezzo a fortnight ago.
“Two wins here is as good as it gets,” beamed Vonn.“It has been a perfect weekend, with the timing of Cortina as well.“This is the exact preparation I was hoping for going into South Korea.“I feel really good mentally and physically.“My equipment is working well, my preparation is perfect — things couldn’t be better going into the Olympics.”
The Winter Olympics open on Thursday where Vonn will be gunning for gold in South Korea after missing the 2014 Sochi Games with injury.
- triple gold hunt -
Vonn will race in the downhill, super-G and combined as she chases her first Olympic medals since downhill gold and super-G bronze at the 2010 Vancouver Games.
However, Goggia does not plan to let Vonn have her own way after two narrow downhill defeats this weekend behind the American.
“I hope it won’t be like that after the Olympics downhill,” said Goggia, who is now just 23 points ahead of Vonn in the overall downhill rankings.“I am happy with two solid races and two good times, especially after I crashed in Cortina a fortnight ago.”
The women’s Olympic alpine programme starts with the giant slalom on February 12 while the downhill — the blue-riband event — is on February 21.
Vonn says it will be “all or nothing” on the Jeongseon course.Vonn’s 81st win edges her closer to Inge Stenmark’s all-time alpine record of 86 World Cup victories, but retirement is clearly on her mind.
“You get a little greedy when you keep winning, you want to win more,” she added.“For sure, I will ski another season and then I will see how high I can get the number.
“It’s not easy to win, especially with people like Tina and Sofia skiing so well.“I know I can continue to win, I just don’t know for how long.”
In total, the 33-year-old has now won the downhill at Garmisch five times with her 2018 double following wins in 2012, 2016 and 2017.
Despite Vonn’s double success here, the Kandahar course claimed three US racers this weekend.Stacey Cook crashed on Sunday after double falls on Saturday when Laurenne Ross fell fall and Jacqueline Wiles suffered a double broken leg and torn knee ligaments.
Vonn has now won nine times in Garmisch, eight of which came on the Kandahar course.She always enjoys vocal support racing here, partly due to the town’s US Army base, and often spent Christmas here with retired ex-world champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch.
Despite her impressive record in Garmisch, Vonn insists the twisting, icy Kandahar does her few favours. “This course doesn’t actually suit my technique, but despite that, I know where I can pick up speed and I always try to find the right line,” she admitted.
“But it’s one of the hardest courses on the circuit for me.“It’s a very bumpy course, with lots of right turns, which doesn’t help my bad right knee,” which she injured in 2014.“It’s very flat at the top and I don’t glide well, but I know where I can gain speed.”