Mancuso landed a 10th-place result and said she knew she could build on with some equipment tweaks. “When I finish top 10 it feels good,” said Man- cuso. “I definitely know where I can improve, so it’s good to leave the hill with lots of positive things but also wanting more.” Last season’s GS overall runner-up, Tessa Worley of France, showed her toughness with a fourth-place finish despite skiing three-fourths of the first run with one pole. The woman that many believe will give Vonn and Hoefl-Riesch a run for their money this season — Slovenian GS world champion Tina Maze — was a non- factor in 23rd place. She was just ahead of Hoefl-Riesch, who had a sloppy, slow second run and then pushed a little ice towards Vonn via the media. “You should not overrate the first race of a season,” Hoefl-Riesch told the As- sociated Press. “There have been winners in Soelden that did not win much later in the season.” U.S. veteran Sarah Schleper, 32, who announced on Facebook the night be- fore that a sore back would keep her out of the race, decided to give it a shot, but pulled out before reaching the pitch.
France’s Tessa Worley skied most of her first
run in Soelden with one pole before fighting
back in the second run to finish fourth.
Vonn saw green, 0.80 seconds on the scoreboard and slid to a stop on her back,
poles swinging in glee. Chief overall rival, Hoefl-Riesch had had a terrible second run
and stood in the 20s.
In the leader’s box, Vonn watch Austrian Elisabeth Goergl come in 0.40 seconds
behind her. Then, last year’s GS overall titleholder and Soelden winner, German
Viktoria Rebensburg, wedged herself between them, just four hundredths of a sec-
ond behind Vonn. The first-run leader, 21-year-old Italian Federica Brignone, made it
through only a handful of gates on the top flats before catching an outside edge and
slipping off course.
Vonn had shocked the field and herself with her first career GS victory, becoming
only the fifth woman in World Cup history to have won in all five disciplines and tying
Anja Paerson as the fourth winningest woman ever with 42 career victories. It was
also the first World Cup GS win by an American woman in 20 years.
“I don’t believe it still,” said Vonn, who turned 27 four days before the race. “To finally
have a win in GS and be able to have won in five disciplines is more than I could have
ever hoped for. It couldn’t have gone any better; I’m optimistic about the season. Fi-
nally I’m fast in GS.”
Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany (left)
and Elisabeth Goergl of Austria flanked
Vonn on the Soelden podium.
SkiRacing.com OCTOBER 31, 2011 | 25