Vonn dominates in World Cup downhill win

Updated: January 28, 2012

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Lindsey Vonn dominated yet another World Cup downhill on Saturday, winning by a huge 1.42 seconds margin on the Engiadina course.

On another sunny day at St. Moritz, the American found speed that eluded her rivals to clock 1 minute 43.65 seconds on the relatively flat 2.52-kilometer (1.57-mile) track.

“I’m extremely happy with the win,” said Vonn, whose eighth World Cup victory this season extended her lead in the overall and downhill standings. “It’s been an amazing year so far.”

Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany, the defending overall champion, was runner-up. Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein was third, 1.47 behind Vonn.

Vonn’s closest challenger in the overall standings, Tina Maze of Slovenia, was fourth, 1.65 seconds back.

With 100 World Cup points for victory, Vonn leads Maze by 352 with half the season’s scheduled races completed.

Barring injury, Vonn seems unstoppable in her quest to reclaim the title she lost last year after winning the giant crystal globe trophy for three straight years.

“Last year I had eight wins for the entire season. I already have eight this year and it’s only the end of January,” she said. “I’m never tired of winning and I’m never tired of skiing.”

Vonn, who won the super-combined event here Friday, got her 49th career World Cup victory and 24th in downhill. It was her third success in Alpine skiing’s glamor event this season.

Her margin Saturday was stunning for any racer yet it was her narrowest downhill victory this campaign. In her two wins at Lake Louise, Alberta, last month, the runners-up were France’s Marie Marchand-Arvier and Weirather by 1.68 and 1.95, respectively.

“It’s a weird feeling,” Vonn said. “I just feel so relaxed and enjoying what I do so much.”

Hoefl-Riesch said she was happy just to finish second behind Vonn, matching her best result in what has been a difficult season.

“It seems like Lindsey is really hard to beat. She’s skiing perfect,” said the reigning overall champion, who hugged Vonn standing in the leader’s box after skiing immediately after her friend.

Weirather, who took the early lead, laughed after being asked to explain the feeling watching Vonn attack her time.

“It’s strange because you know she is going to be fast and you are waiting to see just how much it is,” Weirather said.

On a good day for the American team, Julia Mancuso tied for fifth place and Leanne Smith finished seventh.

Mancuso was faster than Vonn at the first intermediate time check, and seemed poised for at least a podium finish until hitting a tough line at a traverse approaching a tight left hand turn.

Vonn can complete a St. Moritz treble in another super-combined scheduled Sunday, which includes super-G and slalom legs.

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