By Gary R. Blockus | Dec. 01, 2017, 5:34 p.m. (ET)

Mikaela Shiffrin takes third place in women's downhill at the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup on Dec. 1, 2017 in Lake Louise, Alberta.

 

The ski slopes at Lake Louise have often been referred to as “Lake Lindsey,” referring to the success American star Lindsey Vonn has had in world cup events at the Alberta resort.

That tradition appeared like it would remain intact on Friday as Vonn raced toward her 19th world cup win there, posting the top intermediate times at the first four checkpoints of the women’s downhill.

However, the 2010 Olympic champ and all-time women’s world cup wins leader crashed out near the end of the course, and in a surprise twist her U.S. teammate Mikaela Shiffrin — best known for her prowess on the technical events — finished third. It was Shifrin’s first world cup podium finish in the downhill, expanding her Olympic medal capability.

She has now podiumed in four of the five alpine events on the world cup stage. Her top super-G finish to date is a fourth place in January 2017.

Shiffrin, the defending Olympic slalom gold medalist and reigning overall world cup champion, finished her run in 1:48.83, behind winner Cornelia Huetter of Austria, who finished in 1:48.53, and second-place finisher Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein (1:48.62). It marked Huetter’s first downhill world cup victory in her career.

2014 Olympian Jackie Wiles finished fifth in 1:49.28.

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Shiffrin became the youngest American to win the Olympic gold medal in the slalom when she did so at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games at age 18.

Now 22, Shiffrin is following in Vonn’s tracks as the top skier in the world.

Coming off a season in which she won the world cup overall and slalom titles, while finishing second in giant slalom, Shiffrin took center stage this past weekend at the world cup in Killington, Vermont. She won the slalom and finished second in giant slalom, her first giant slalom of the season.

Skiing action in Lake Louise continues on Saturday with another women’s downhill, followed by the women’s super G on Sunday.

Gary R. Blockus is a journalist from Allentown, Pennsylvania who has covered multiple Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.