a high note, but there was one in particular getting the most applause for
Having never won a World Cup in front of her large and enthusiastic hometown crowd (she was second to Lindsey Vonn in last season’s slalom), Maria
Riesch put her stamp — more of a label, really — on this year’s Finals.
World Cup Finals Downhill, March 10
Julia Mancuso was right in the mix of what appeared to be a very tight race
as the sun beat down on the Bavarian resort. Not appearing a drop older or
slower after turning 26 the day before, Mancuso put down an early lead that
Julia Mancuso followed up her astonishing double silver-medal performances at the Games with her first Cup podium in more than two years in the Crans Montana super G.
only Switzerland’s Nadja Kamer could beat. Even then, the leaders were
within hundredths of a second of each other and the gates were sizzling. But
then Riesch tore down the hill she knows so well and set the place ablaze. As
the letters M, A, R, I and A bobbled through the buzzing crowd, the German
crossed the finish line well over a second faster than anyone else.
Lindsey Vonn was the next one on course and if anyone were to come close
to Riesch, it was the World Cup downhill and Olympic champion. But Vonn
didn’t do it here. She did finish fast enough (just under a half-second behind
Riesch) for second.
“It was a tough downhill,” Vonn said after the race. “I did my best but I didn’t