ON a treacherous piste named Franz’s Run, American Lindsey Vonn summoned the daredevil spirit of the legendary Klammer to secure the Olympic women’s downhill title.
Just a week ago Vonn, the dominant force in World Cup racing, announced in front of a packed media conference that a shin injury could have ended her Games before they had begun.
She couldn’t even put her ski boots on, let alone charge down probably the most challenging women’s downhill course in Olympic history.
But the 25-year old has made a career of improbable comebacks and within 48 hours she was back on the piste to claim the biggest prize of them all. “It’s a dream, I’ve no idea what to say,” said Vonn. “The last two weeks have been the hardest ever, with all the worries about my shin and whether I would be able to race.
“But the dream has always been to win an Olympic downhill gold, that for me it is the ultimate.”
Team-mate Julia Mancuso claimed silver while Austria’s Elisabeth Goergl took bronze, with Great Britain’s Chemmy Alcott back in 13th.
Alcott said she was happy with her performance, despite failing to improve on her 11th place in Turin four years ago. However, she will look to the super-G, where her most encouraging World Cup results have come, with confidence.
Several skiers, including Swedish medal contender Anja Paerson, struggled on the icy and bumpy course, but Alcott said: “It was a real challenge and I loved it. “The conditions were awesome. It’s icy and it’s bumpy and it is very challenging. An Olympic downhill shouldn’t be just liked another World Cup event, it should be unique.
“Lindsey’s run was incredible, she didn’t really make a single mistake. I made a couple of errors on the top section and that is where I lost it.”
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DAY SEVEN | BRITS IN ACTION
5pm (GMT): Curling: Men's - Great Britain v Switzerland
8.30pm - 2am: Snowboard: Women’s halfpipe - Lesley McKenna
9pm: Biathlon: Men’s 20km - Lee-Steve Jackson
10pm: Curling: Women’s - Great Britain v Russia
12am: Skeleton: Women’s heats - Shelley Rudman, Amy Williams
2.30am: Skeleton: Men’s heats - Kristan Bromley, Adam Pengilly