By Gary R. Blockus | Jan. 20, 2018, 9:21 a.m. (ET)

 

It’s a glorious day to be a U.S. women’s downhill skier.

In Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, on Saturday, Lindsey Vonn won the downhill world cup, while her protégé Jackie Wiles finished third.

The win marked Vonn’s first downhill victory in one year, and it was perfect timing as she aims to return to the top of the Olympic downhill podium next month after striking gold in 2010 and missing out on the 2014 team.

Wiles, meanwhile, reached her first podium in a year and only the second of her career.

Even more important? Wiles confirmed her spot on the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team.

The Aurora, Oregon, resident joins Vonn and defending Olympic and world champion slalom racer Mikaela Shiffrin, who was seventh Saturday, as the three women to meet the top level of objective criteria for the Olympic team in downhill. Vonn and Shiffrin have also qualified for the Olympics in super-G, and Shiffrin has qualified in giant slalom and slalom, too.

Shiffrin, Vonn and Wiles are third, fifth and seventh in the downhill standings, respectively.

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Wiles, 25, qualified for her second straight Olympic team after bursting onto the U.S. Ski Team in by winning the U.S. downhill title at Copper Mountain in Colorado in 2013 and 2014.

After making the Olympic team out of her rookie world cup campaign and finishing 26th in Sochi, she’s eager for a shot at the podium in PyeongChang.

It’s only fitting that Wiles land on the same podium as Vonn – in December 2015, Wiles was selected by Vonn as the first-ever athlete ambassador for her foundation, meaning Vonn would help fund Wiles as she continued racing and following her dreams, while Wiles would in turn spread the organization’s message. The Lindsey Vonn Foundation was formed earlier that year to empower the next generation of women and support them through, education and athletics.

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.