Double glory for the US

17th February 2010, by Chris Gill

Poised to win - Vonn goes for gold  [BBC]

Poised to win - Vonn goes for gold [BBC]

Lyndsey Vonn has secured Olympic gold in the women’s downhill, with a tremendous run that put her half a second ahead of teammate Julia Mancuso.

The pair took gold and silver medal positions in the competition – a first for the US in this particular discipline – on a course that pushed the athletes to their limits and witnessed a lot of spectacular crashes. Bronze went to Austria’s Elisabeth Goergl.

Mancuso was in gold position when Vonn flew out of the starting gate. Vonn put down a cracking pace to emerge with a time of 1:44:19 that proved too strong for any other racer to match. It was an exceptional performance from the World Champion, who has been recovering from a shin injury. So will this be the first of five golds? Watch this space.

There were high hopes from Sweden’s Anj Paerson, one of the last to go. She looked to be storming into a medal position when she crashed dramatically after the final jump – an enormous leap from which she lost control on landing. Thankfully, she wasn’t seriously injured.

Britain’s Chemmy Alcott finished in 13th place, having put in a determined effort in her run. The technical slope and variable snow conditions made the result all the more impressive, given the later crashes. Alcott started early and completed the course in great style, unlike some of the later racers. Her exit was strong and the lower section of the course fast. Like Vonn, she will be competing in all five Alpine disciplines, so we’ll be rooting for her in the super combined next.

There was big disappointment though for Anglo-French competitor, Ingrid Jaquemod. She completed the course but was clearly uncomfortable in descent and dropped 4.6 seconds off the pace – certainly nowhere near her best performances of late, and having reached a third place in training. A fellow team mate suffered a worse fate, tripping just seconds from the start gate.

The Whistler Olympic downhill has proved a classic, full of drama and tension – rather more thrilling than the men’s event – and on a competition course said to be one of the toughest.

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