Anna Fenninger wins super-G world title
Olympic champ defeats Vonn in Colorado
Anna Fenninger of Austria added a world championship super-G title to her Olympic gold medal, winning the event Tuesday on a shortened course and in blustery conditions in Beaver Creek, Colo.
Fenninger found the perfect line and finished in one minute 10.29 seconds. Tina Maze of Slovenia was second, 0.03 seconds behind, and American Lindsey Vonn was third, 0.15 seconds back despite a wind gust standing her up early in her run.
Vonn, the favourite in a race near her hometown of Vail, momentarily had the lead and the capacity crowd went wild, ringing cowbells and waving American flags. Her boyfriend, golfer Tiger Woods, saw Vonn's name topping the leaderboard and instantly yelled out, "Yes!"
It didn't last long, though. Maze was the next skier down and took over the top spot, silencing the crowd.
Three racers later, it was Fenninger on top, ending Maze's reign as world champion. Fenninger also won the event at the 2014 Sochi Games.
It was an amazing emotion. I cannot say what this means.- Anna Fenninger on winning a super-G world title
Valerie Grenier of Mont-Tremblant, Que., was 19th and Larisa Yurkiw of Owen Sound, Ont., was 28th.
Moments after bursting across the finish line, Fenninger fell to the ground and buried her face in the snow.
"It was an amazing emotion," said Fenninger, the reigning overall World Cup champion. "I cannot say what this means."
With the whipping wind and blowing snow, the race was delayed 30 minutes and the start moved down the hill, eliminating a steep portion. That favoured the more technical skiers.
"It was not easy to ski with the wind," said Maze, who earned her seventh medal at worlds. "But today was the first day I put down the run that I wanted. It's a lot of waves, a lot of terrain, I'm really happy I could bring down this run."
This was Vonn's first event at worlds since a bad crash two years ago in the super-G at Schladming, Austria, tore ligaments in her right knee. She tried to make it back in time for the Sochi Games last February, but missed those Olympics because of a second knee operation.
Leading up to worlds, Vonn said she was treating this big event in front of a hometown crowd almost like her Olympics.
As she nervously waited in the start gate, a headwind making her pony tail blow backward, Woods stoically stared at the big screen, his eyes shielded behind sunglasses. He was warmly dressed, too, but not wearing the skeleton-patterned mask he donned in Italy when he surprised Vonn after she broke the record for most World Cup wins by a female skier.
That's also the day Woods got hit in the mouth by a camera and lost a tooth. This time, he stayed close to Vonn's mom and out of the way.
Although Vonn crossed the finish line in first, she had a feeling it wasn't going to be enough, especially after encountering so many wind gusts along the way.
"I thought I skied pretty well," Vonn said. "I'm happy with the way I skied. I'm happy with the result. I just wish the weather was a little bit better."
Vonn gets another chance Friday in the downhill, and the weather is supposed to be less windy.
"I just want a fair race and another chance to get on the podium," Vonn said.