USA’s Lindsey Vonn celebrated her fifth season win today at Haus im Ennstal where she captured her fourth consecutive downhill race within six weeks, a performance which has not been achieved in the specialty for a long time. Switzerland’s 1972 Olympic Champion Marie Therese Nadig was the last athlete to achieve such an impressive winning streak in downhill during in 1980 when she won five downhills over two seasons.
Vonn has now dominated both double-downhill events hold in Lake Louise in December and this week at Haus im Ennstal. On Saturday, she fought with her usual strong willpower on the shorten track fighting her way through light snowfall and reduced visibility after losing some time at the top because of a bad start after one of her poles got through her legs.
“I’m just really happy that I made it trough, it was a tough race today and I knew that it was getting slower after some numbers for some girls,” said the 25-year-old champion after the race. “I’m building a lot of confidence with such a win. That’s what I need right now. I’m the kind of girl that if I don’t ski my best, my confidence goes away pretty fast.”
“Now it’s getting bigger and bigger. It was a difficult race to win, because you needed to ski really well to get it. It was really tough because it was so short. I knew that I had to be nearly perfect to be able to stay ahead. Yet I got some problems at the start with one of my poles which got in between my legs. This cost me some time.”
“I skied better in the sections where I made some mistakes yesterday. I gave all I had and I fought a lot. But on this kind of snow, it wasn’t such an easy downhill. I needed to stay cool before the start. I start to concentrate myself when they were positive about the race.”
“For sure to win tomorrow looks like an exciting program but we will see what I can do. I’ll give all I have inside. I know that I was pretty close to win the first Super-G race in Canada. I just need to believe in it.”
It was victory number 27 for the skier from Vail, Colorado, who is now aiming for another hat-trick in Sunday’s Super-G. She still feels some pain at her right hand injured last month at Lienz, in Austria, when she crashed during her first giant slalom run.
The race was delayed for two hours while athletes and spectators waited for fog to lift, and the start was moved to the reserve super G start – the lowest possible alternate. Yet the endless waiting didn’t faze the two-time defending crystal globe owner, who was the last to leave the finish area after signing autographs for every fan.
The HEAD champion is not only leading the World Cup standings in Overall and downhill, but also in Super-G, and will try to complete her speed event trilogy in Sunday’s Super G.
“I just hope it doesn’t snow too much tonight, and I hope the track stays good,” the American also said. “Tomorrow, I’m really going to try to attack. I’ve been really close to a win in Super G this year, but I haven’t quite done it.”
Only three women did better in the past in downhill on the women’s World Cup tour than Lindsey Vonn. Austria’s skiing legend Annemarie Moser-Pröll leads the standings with a total of 36 victories – including eleven in a row over two seasons from 1972 to 1974 – ahead of newly retired Renate Götschl (24 wins) and Switzerland’s Michaela Figini (17).
At that pace, Vonn can also aims to improve her own record of nine wins in a single season. The overall record belongs to Switzerland’s former slalom star Vroni Schneider with 14 wins during the 1988/89 winter.
Two other HEAD athletes came among the top-10 in that race - Sweden's Anja Paerson was 5th and Maria Riesch 7th.