Lindsey Vonn is back since returning from breaking an arm and injuring her knee. Saturday, the American brought it on, Lara Gut, defending champion of the World Cup, to win a downhill skiing event in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. The win marks her 77th career victory, moving her within nine wins of the record currently held by Ingemar Stenmark.
After finishing 0.15 seconds ahead of Gut, Vonn collapsed to the ground in celebration, shedding tears of joy. She also became emotional while hugging Alan Kildow, her once-estranged father.
Vonn said when she got to the bottom she just cried. She says she worked hard to come back, and many forget how much time, energy, blood, sweat, and tears it takes to recover without any training and just jump back in. She says she had to trust her team and technician. They all did their best and she’s glad it only took two races to get back on top.
Ten weeks ago, Vonn broke her upper right arm in a training crash on Copper Mountain, Colorado. The arm break came while recovering from a left knee injury that ended last season. She placed 13th in the first race in Austria, last weekend.
Last week, Vonn revealed her struggles with nerve damage. They were so severe that she couldn’t move her fingers after having arm surgery in November.
It was difficult for skiers to see the bumps and terrain with the lack of sun on the Kandahar course. However, Vonn pushed herself from start to finish.
Midway through her run, Vonn lost some time when she went wide. However, she was able to keep her advantage in the lower section where she missed a gate in training the day prior.
Vonn’s last win was also in a downhill event in Garmisch last February.
Two years ago, she already beat Annemarie Moser-Proell’s women’s record of 62 wins across all events. Next is the outright record held by Stenmark, the Swedish great who gained his wins between 1975 and 1989.
Gut gained 80 points on Mikaela Shiffrin in overall standings, more of a technical specialist who is not racing this weekend, but still trails by 235 points. Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia placed eighth and leads Gut by 117 points in downhill standings. Ramona Siebenhofer, the Austrian who led both training sessions, placed fourth, and Italy’s Sofia Goggia in fifth.
The surprise of the day came from Austrian Ricarda Haaser, finishing 10th with the Number 53 bib.
American Breezy Johnson placed 11th to match her best career results.
Austrian Christine Scheyer, recording her first win last weekend, went wide a few gates from the finish, failing to clear a gate. Johanna Schnarf was struggling in the same place, falling and losing control, but the Italian avoided serious injury.
Vonn is aiming for another win Sunday in a super-G event on the Kandahar course.