Julia Mancuso finished 10th in Soelden for her second-best result in 10 appearances on the hill.
even more like home,” said U.S. men’s head coach Sasha Rearick as the weekend wrapped up.
Having secured her first World Cup giant slalom podium (third place) in the last GS race of the 2010-2011 season,
Vonn spent the summer exorcizing her only apparent demon for good. A few days before the race, Vonn still called
giant slalom her weakest discipline. “I’m always really nervous coming into Soelden, it’s the most difficult GS we have
all season.” said Vonn, who, a week before the race, fell so hard on her hip she couldn’t ski or even walk normally for
the following four days.
Despite lingering soreness in the hip, on the sunny, cold morning of the race, Vonn pulled on her new custom-de-signed tech-event suit and the No. 8 bib. She put down a tactically smart first run that was good enough for a fourth-place standing (0.82 seconds back). She had a confident, if surprised, smile on her face as she made her way through
the media corral on her way to prepare for the second run. The fact that the woman who ended her three-year reign
at the top of the World Cup overall standings by just three points seven months earlier — German Maria Hoefl-Riesch
— was looking uncomfortable on the slope (standing 12th), may have added to Vonn’s optimistic mood.
“I was really nervous before the second run; I was telling my coaches that I hoped I didn’t ski like a wimp,” Vonn later
told reporters. “I didn’t try to do anything special. I knew exactly where I could carry the speed into the flats on the bot-
tom so I just tried to ski smart, and it paid off.”
Vonn took the same “to do” list into the second run — ski hard on the top flats, minimize risk, carry speed through
the steep pitch, and then hammer the bottom flats all the way home. With just the top three first-run women to come,
“You should not overrate the first race of a season,” said Maria Hoefl-Riesch.
SkiRacing.com OCTOBER 31, 2011 | 24