Lindsey Vonn takes 3rd place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women's Downhill on February 18, 2012 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Vianney Thibaut/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)
Lindsey Vonn gained the headlines again last weekend with two more Audi FIS World Cup titles, including her fifth straight downhill crown. While Vonn's streak matched that of the great Annemarie Moser-Proell, an equally notable story was unfolding behind her with four U.S. women in the top 10. While that set a new U.S. mark, it actually didn't come as that much of a surprise. With six U.S. women in the top 25, it's the strongest and deepest downhill ski racing powerhouse in U.S. Ski Team history – men or women!
On the Rosa Khutor Olympic downhill, Julia Mancuso, Stacey Cook and Alice McKennis joined Vonn in the top 10. Vonn, Mancuso and Cook all stand in the top 10 in the World Cup. On any given day, it could just as easily have been Laurenne Ross or Leanne Smith. In the last month, all six have skied into the top 10 - six girls battling for top World Cup spots every downhill weekend! Who's best in the world? Score it USA 1,225, Austria 752 – a 473 margin for the Americans!
Historically, the Americans have excelled based on the camaraderie of a team – each athlete motivating and helping the others. When you're around the girls on the training hill or hanging with them leading up to a race, you can feel the energy they're creating around their team. When the World Cup rolls into Bankso for the final speed weekend before World Cup Finals, it will be the American girls on stage.
Weekly Highlights – February 21, 2012
Alpine – Lindsey Vonn secured the 13th and 14th World Cup tiles of her career to lead Julia Mancuso, Stacey Cook and Alice McKennis into the top 10 for a record breaking team performance on the 2014 Olympic downhill track. Ted Ligety dropped out of the World Cup giant slalom points lead and Nolan Kasper was 6th in the Bansko slalom. The World Cup tour stoped in Moscow where Mancuso picked up a parallel slalom win and Vonn came in third. The women’s speed heads to Bansko, men’s tech in Crans-Montana.
Cross Country – Kikkan Randall extended her World Cup sprint lead with a gutsy comeback after a crash to finish third in the final skate sprint of the season. A day later both Randall and Ida Sargent scored career best distance finishes. The World Cup takes a weekend break before resuming in Lahti in March.
Freeskiing – Bischofswiesen is home to the next stop on the skicross World Cup circuit where John Teller will be looking for a win. Halfpipe and slopestyle athletes look ahead to the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix in Mammoth, CA, Feb. 29 – Mar. 3.
Freestyle – Patrick Deneen won the dual moguls in Japan, beating World Cup leader Mikael Kingsbury. Hannah Kearney won her 16th World Cup before having the streak snapped a day later. Aerialist Scotty Bahrke won his first World Cup in Austria, Dylan Ferguson was third.
Nordic Combined – Olympic champion Billy Demong finished 10th in an individual Gundersen, making up 10 spots from the jump in Klingenthal, Germany Sunday. The World Cup tour now moves to Liberec, Czech Republic Feb 25-26 for a penalty race and an individual Gundersen.
Ski Jumping – World Cup leader Sarah Hendrickson won a Continental Cup tune-up in Liberec before heading to Junior Nordic Worlds where she will be a medal favorite.
Snowboarding – Kelly Clark won her 15th straight halfpipe event at TTR World Snowboarding Championships with Gretchen Bleiler third. Matt Ladley received his second podium of the season with second in men's halfpipe while Louie Vito was third. Chas Guldemond won men's slopestyle with Jamie Anderson second for women
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