(Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/Agence France-Presse. I don't always bother to credit the photos, but i think this one of Vonn is so awesome I took note of who took it.)
I just want to preface this by saying the Downhill Competition is the event I would least like to find myself involved. Yes, I would rather do half-pipe than downhill. I would rather do moguls than downhill. The thought of speeding down that effing mountain scares the hell out of me. I mean, with all those turns and the airtime off the hills??? No, thanks. These are some fierce women going down that hill, folks. I saw one of them face plant on the ice while going 70 miles an hour downhill. Bloody hell!
So now that that's out of the way, Lindsey Vonn rose to the occasion and met all expectations to become the first US woman to win an Olympic downhill gold medal. In a run where her skill was only matched by her sheer aggression descents in Olympic Vonn effectively dealt with bruised shin, and chased down teammate and rival Julia Mancuso for the win. Vonn’s time of 1 minute and 44.19 seconds on a very bumpy, and dangerous race course at Whistler Mountain was 0.56 seconds better than Mancuso. What's even more amazing is that for most of the run, Vonn favored her right shin, often placing her weight on the inside ski (which you're apparently not supposed to do. i don't know, i'll jus trust the guy who commented on the slo-mo replay) and finishing the race practically balancing on one foot. It's amazing she could maintain so much control like that. Following Vonn and Mancuso on the medal podium was Elisabeth Görgl of Austria with the bronze.
This course was BRUTAL. Six of the 45 skiers did not even make it to the bottom! And they exited the course by flying off of it in the gnarliest of ways. I'm pretty sure another eight experienced falls along the course but picked themselves up and got to the finish line. It makes Vonn's achievement that much more impressive. She skied with absolutely no fear. She just tore right through it. Afterwards, when she saw her time, she roared and collapsed in the snow with delight. She remained emotional over the win for a long time after she secured gold. Both Vonn and Mancuso looked absolutely thrilled to be on the podium. I'm so happy for them that dreams they held since they were 12 years old have finally come true.
Good luck with that bruised shin in the rest of your events, Lindsey!
(Elisabeth Görgl of Austria is on the right, wondering about those crazy Americans she's standing with.)