Friday marked the return of Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn, who finished a conservative 40th in the first of two Audi FIS Alpine World Cup downhills in Lake Louise. It was Vonn’s first World Cup start since a season-ending injury last February. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom/Alain Grosclaude)
LAKE LOUISE, AB (Dec. 6) – U.S. Ski Team athlete Julia Ford (Plymouth, NH) shed a little light on a tough day for the U.S. women’s speed team, as she finished a career-best 21st in the first of two Audi FIS Alpine World Cup downhills in Lake Louise. Friday also marked the return of Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO), who finished a conservative 40th in her first World Cup start since a season-ending injury last February. German Maria Hoefl-Riesch, who won the final training run, took home the victory in a race delayed by an hour due to fog. The U.S. women’s speed team returns to the hill Saturday for the second downhill run, which will air live on the Universal Sports Network.
U.S. Ski Team athlete Julia Ford (Plymouth, NH) shed a little light on a tough day for the U.S. women’s speed team, as she finished a career-best 21st in the first of two Audi FIS Alpine World Cup downhills in Lake Louise despite her late start in 56th.
Ford’s finish was a high-mark on a mostly disappointing day for the U.S. women’s speed team.
Friday also marked the return of Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) from a serious knee injury last February at World Championships.
Vonn finished a conservative 40th in Friday’s race.
Teammate Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA) finished 26th while the rest of the Team finished outside the points.
The first of two Lake Louise downhill races, Friday’s race was delayed because of manmade fog from snow guns.
Brutal cold temperatures down to -22F added an extra challenge as the snow was slower and the athletes risked frostbite with any exposed skin.
Maria Hoefl-Riesch took home the fastest time Friday after winning Thursday’s training run.
The U.S. women’s speed team returns to the hill Saturday for the second downhill run, which will air live on the Universal Sports Network.
QUOTES Lindsey Vonn It just was the first race. It’s tough to come to Lake Louise having not raced not only this season but since last February. So it was a little tough with the nerves. Now that I have that first race over, I think tomorrow I definitely can risk more and be more confident.
I’m always a positive thinker and I was really optimistic that I could come down in my first race and win. It was wishful thinking, but might as well shoot for the best. I was just too nervous. I was really tight and I skied that way. I wasn’t in a really deep tuck. I wasn’t pushing the line where I could have. I just kind of skied it and that’s not my style. I attack a race. Now that I have that first race under my belt I can go after it more tomorrow and know what to expect.
Julia Ford It feels really good after the health issues I had last year (concussion). It feels good to be back out here and charging in a healthy state. Today was a step, but I want to go faster. I want to do better every day. Yesterday was a confidence boost because it was nice to throw one in there so you know you’re capable of doing that. So today was good, but I’m looking forward to being even closer to that top group. Today was a good step but I want to go even faster tomorrow.
Chip White, Women's Head Downhill Coach Lindsey came here with high expectations. But it's her first time back after 10 months. Everyone wants to see her get back on top. But she definitely has work ahead of her. Her preparation period was very short with less pre-season training. But it's phenomenal that she's here.
Right now we're just working with her to ski the line and be in a good position. She did that well, but she wasn't able to charge. Everyone has high expectations thinking she can win, but every downhill is difficult. To win today in her first time back would have been a miracle.
I have to be honest; I'm very disappointed with our results today. It's one of our most disappointing performances as a group. We have veterans on the team who didn't perform as expected. Everyone was skiing on the line so I can't say what was wrong. But we'll look at video and evaluate tonight.
But I'm also really excited for Julia Ford (21st) and Jackie Wiles (31st). Julia's coming back from an injury last year and Jackie is just in her second World Cup weekend.