Vonn Ties McKinney's Record

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

Lindsey Vonn couldn't have planned her run-up to the World Championships any better.

The defending and current overall World Cup leader won
back-to-back races in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany over the
weekend and tied Tamara McKinney's American women's record of 18
career victories.

"It's the best possible preparation I could have had for these
World Championships, and I hope that I can just keep the momentum
going and get some medals here," Vonn said Monday on the eve of
the championships.

The worlds open with the women's super-G on Tuesday, with
Sweden's Anja Paerson the two-time defending champion.

At the last worlds in Are, Sweden, two years ago, Vonn finished
second to Paerson in super-G for her first career major
championship medal.

After starting out by dominating a slalom, Vonn capped her
weekend in Garmisch with a super-G victory for her first win in the
discipline in two years.

"Garmisch definitely helps my confidence. Super-G hasn't been
going that well for me in the past few years but yesterday was a
great race and now I know that I can do it and I trust myself a
little more," she said.

Vonn has yet to win gold at an Olympics or at the worlds.

"There's definitely a little pressure coming in to World
Championships never having won a gold medal," she said. "I hope
to change that."

The women's speed course in Val d'Isere, the Solaise-Piste
Rhone-Alpes, is new but Vonn and a few other skiers made a special
trip here last spring to check it out.

"I had already gone home for U.S. Nationals, so I had to come
back to Europe. But I thought it was really important to get a
couple runs in on the new course," Vonn said. "I knew what to
expect for the free skiing today and hopefully that will be an
advantage."

Bad weather altered the schedule in Garmisch, moving the super-G
from Saturday to Sunday, and leaving racers limited time to get to
Val d'Isere - an 8-10 hour drive. Vonn solved that problem by
taking a private jet from Innsbruck to Geneva, then traveled by car
for the final leg.

"I got in at 7 p.m. in time for dinner and went to bed," Vonn
said.

Fellow U.S. Ski Team racer Julia Mancuso of Olympic Valley,
Calif., made the trip in the personal bus she travels the circuit
on.

"I took the night liner, so it was pretty comfortable,"
Mancuso said. "I got some spinning in, we made some dinner,
watched a lot of movies and we only got lost once, so it wasn't
much of a problem. We got in at 1 a.m."

Mancuso hasn't won a race in nearly two years but has a sterling
record in big events. She won two bronze medals at the 2005 World
Championships in Bormio and Santa Caterina, Italy, then took gold
in giant slalom at the 2006 Turin Olympics and a silver in
super-combi at the 2007 worlds in Are - along with four titles at
various junior World Championships.

"I've always executed at big events. This season hasn't been
going awesome for me, so for sure it's going to take a bit of luck
for me to ski fast here but I'm definitely looking forward to it,"
Mancuso said, citing back trouble and equipment changes for her
struggles.

Stacey Cook of Mammoth, Calif., and Chelsea Marshall of
Pittsfield, Vt., round out the American super-G team, although
Marshall is likely to sit out with a bad back.

"It's going to be a game-time decision but I would say 90
percent she's not going to go," women's coach Jim Tracy said.
"She's pretty disappointed right now."


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