Vonn second in La Thuile downhill
Wraps up WC downhill title
Regains WC overall lead
Apology for ski smashing incident
Lindsey Vonn certainly knows how to make the headlines.
Not content with an eye-catching appearance in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition and wrapping up her 20th World Cup crystal globe, the American ski queen has had to issue an apology for a Facebook posting, later deleted, in which she was seen smashing her sponsored skis with a hammer.
“I made a mistake and everyone does that. I am human. I had a lot of emotions yesterday and I should have just done boxing with my trainer,” Vonn told gathered reporters in La Thuile, Italy Saturday.
Her mea culpa came after finishing second in a World Cup downhill to home hope Nadia Fanchini, having failed to finish a race at the same resort Friday after her ski came off at 80mph (128kph)
Vonn has been heavily favored to make it #LV77 victories on the World Cup circuit, but on a course shortened by strong winds on the upper section of the piste, Fanchini, off ninth, set a time of one minute 24.80 seconds which later starters, including Vonn, could not match.
The American was 00.14 seconds slower, with another Italian, Daniela Merighetti, completing the podium.
Friday’s downhill setback was made worse by the eventual victory of her rival for the overall World Cup title, Lara Gut of Switzerland.
Despite missing out on the victory again and the chance to close further on the all-time record of 86 World Cup wins by Ingemar Stenmark, Vonn could take comfort from wrapping up her eight World Cup downhill title, with just one race in the discipline left this season.
She has also regained the lead in the battle for the overall World Cup crown, taking a 43-point lead over Gut, who finished tied 11th after her triumph of the day before.
But that race tightened up again Sunday in the concluding super-G race of the weekend, won by Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein with Gut pushing Vonn into third place.
It was the first World Cup win of the season for Weirather, while Vonn was content with another podium, despite seeing Gut close to within 23 points in the overall standings.
“I just skied a little bit conservatively because of the snow conditions in some sections, Vonn said.
“I fought back from some adversities and didn’t pull myself out of the game mentally so that was a big victory for me.”
Attention before the racing on the Italian side of Mont Blanc had focused on Vonn’s daring second appearance in the famous Sports Illustrated publication, her first back in 2010 before claiming Olympic gold in the downhill.
Covered only in body paint, Vonn also caught the eye with her pre-shoot antics as she performed pull-ups, urged on by the support crew.
“She is very proud of it and has been spreading the message of “strong is beautiful,” said Megan Harrod, the U.S. ski team’s press officer.
On the other side of Mont Blanc, in the French resort of Chamonix, Saturday’s men’s downhill race went to Dominik Paris, who completed a fine day for Italy in the discipline.
Steven Nyman of the USA finished second, with Swiss Beat Feuz in third.