spot to Mancuso, Paerson, Anna Fenninger or Maze in Lenzerheide .Vonn extended her U.S. record
of the most downhill titles (Picabo Street had two).
“Four years ago, there’s no way I could see myself in this position,” said Vonn. “Downhill is my favorite discipline and I just love going fast so I’m really happy to get my fourth consecutive downhill globe
— it’s amazing and it means the world to me.”
Though it was Vonn’s three World Cup wins and four additional podiums that ruled the season, it was
definitely Paerson’s day as she earned her first win of the season with a whopping 0.73 advantage on
Vonn on the shortened course.
With her sixth career downhill victory, Paerson became the first woman not named Vonn or Riesch
to win a World Cup downhill in the previous 15 races. But the win came at a cost as Paerson’s tender
knee took a beating on the jump-filled course. In the finish area, fans missed out on Paerson’s usual
victorious penguin slide; her celebration was limited to shaking her head and rubbing her sore legs.
“It’s been kind of a struggle this season and I finally picked a run where I could [be] perfect,” Paerson
told the AP. “Landing that jump in the middle of the course was really painful. I was a bit lucky that we
didn’t ski the top part, so I could stay fit the entire run.”
Paerson is still undecided if she will return for a 14th season of World Cup racing next year. She remains ranked fourth in all-time World Cup wins, just ahead of Vonn. “Of course when you win you feel
positive and everything is going your way, but it’s still a big decision,” she told the AP. “If you race, you
have to be dedicated every hour every day, and I have to see if I still have the motivation.”
Goergl earned her fifth World Cup podium of the season, 1. 17 seconds back in third place.
With one mistake in the middle of the course, Riesch had only her second non-top-five downhill result
of the season in sixth place ( 1. 31 seconds back). Those four placings added up to a 40-point swing in
Vonn’s favor in the overall standings as Reisch’s lead was bumped down to 136 points.
It was only the second time Riesch missed a downhill podium this season. Like Vonn, she has claimed
three downhill wins this season.
After sliding into the pad at the back of the finish area, Riesch was obviously disappointed in the outcome, shaking her head and slamming her pole on the snow.
“I just saw that I’m eight hundredths back with this mistake, so I was frustrated in the first moment, but
you can’t always have runs without mistakes,” Riesch told the AP.
Canadian Britt Janyk was the second-fastest North American in ninth place, 1.74 seconds back to
achieve her season high for the third time. U.S. skiers Mancuso and Smith were right behind in 10th
and 11th, respectively. It was Smith’s sixth career top- 15 result. Laurenne Ross (23rd) and Stacey
Cook (24th) also made the points as all five U.S. starters hit the top 25 on the day. Only Ross missed
a spot in the downhill finals with the 29th ranking.
“Leanne Smith was very impressive; she put one down again and is continuing to ski very well,” said
U.S. head coach Alex Hoedlmoser. “Julia also did a good job today, she was in the top-five range after
the first split then made a little mistake.”
Maria Riesch mourns the loss of the downhill title.
Tina Maze puts down a
wicked slalom run to earn
her career-first super
SkiRacing.com MARCH 17, 2011 | 28