After missing the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games due to injury, Lindsey Vonn has had a laser focus on the goal of making her fourth Olympic team and adding at least one more medal to the downhill gold and super-G bronze she collected at the Vancouver 2010 Games.
Her record 60th downhill world cup podium sent a message that she’s on the right track to achieve that goal, coming as it did Saturday on the same course that will host the PyeongChang 2018 downhill competition at South Korea’s Jeongseon Alpine Center.
After posting the fastest times in both training runs earlier in the week, it was a mild surprise that Vonn didn’t reach the top step of the podium, although the second place may be a good omen: She finished second at the Vancouver test event one year before taking her Olympic gold.
It was Italy’s Sofia Goggia who found a faster way down the course, flying to a time of 1:38.80, just 0.07 seconds faster than Vonn. Although Goggia’s 10 podiums this season is second only to Mikaela Shiffrin’s 11, Saturday marked her first win.
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Ilka Stuhec’s third-place showing Saturday kept alive Goggia’s faint hope of passing the Slovenian and taking the downhill crystal globe. Stuhec will head to the March 15 season finale in Aspen, Colorado, with a 97-point lead on Goggia. With Shiffrin sitting out the racing in Korea, Stuhec nibbled 80 points off the American’s sizable advantage in the race for the overall world cup globe. Shiffrin has 1,323 points, 238 ahead of Stuhec.
Team USA enjoyed a strong showing, placing four skiers in the top 11. Laurenne Ross was fourth in 1:39.39, only 0.35 away from her first podium of the season. Stacey Cook was sixth, while Jackie Wiles finished 11th. Breezy Johnson’s strong run would have put five Americans in the top 12, but she crashed near the midway point and did not finish.