Vonn third in World Cup super-combi, extends overall lead
ST. MORITZ, Switzerland – Lindsey Vonn extended her lead in the overall World Cup standings Friday, skiing a cautious slalom run to finish third in a super combined won by Sweden’s Anja Paerson.
Vonn earned 60 World Cup points to build a 116-point lead over Germany’s Maria Riesch, who skied out of the super-G in the first run. Vonn said her mindset switched after Riesch misjudged her line and skied left of a gate near the bottom.
“That definitely changed my tactics quite a bit in the slalom run,” Vonn said. “If (Maria) would have finished and been competitive in the super-G, I would have had to risk a lot more. I took it easy and made it down.”
Paerson clocked 2 minutes, 00.54 seconds in the combined super-G and slalom runs on the Corviglia piste. She celebrated her 41st career World Cup win – fourth on the all-time list – with her trademark belly slide in the finish area.
Paerson also won the super-combi last season in St. Moritz. She also looks to defend the slalom gold medal she won at the 2006 Turin Olympics.
“Everybody has a hill where you have a harmony that nobody else has,” Paerson said. “Now I’ve got a victory and it’s come straight before the Olympics.”
Vonn said she got a mental boost ahead of the super-combi race at the Vancouver Olympics, scheduled for Feb. 14 on Whistler Mountain.
“It’s the first event and now I have that confidence,” Vonn said. “I’m definitely going to risk a lot more in the Olympics.”
Michaela Kirchgasser of Austria was second, 0.43 behind, and Vonn trailed by 0.92 after being second fastest in the super-G. Paerson was eighth after the super-G.
Paerson, who won back-to-back overall titles in 2004 and ’05, moved to third in the overall standings, trailing two-time defending champion Vonn by 330.
The first-run standings were overturned as the speed specialists could not match the technical experts in the afternoon. Morning leader Andrea Fischbacher of Austria finished 12th, while Julia Mancuso of the U.S. dropped from third to 14th after the slalom.
Racing was completed on a bright day but the super-G was interrupted when Georgia Simmerling crashed at the same gate Riesch missed. The 20-year-old Canadian appeared to strike the gate with her left shoulder and face and slid off course into safety nets.
Simmerling crashed the same day she was added to the Olympic team. She was airlifted to a hospital with facial bruises, but Alpine Canada officials said they didn’t think she suffered a concussion.
A downhill is scheduled for Saturday and super-G on Sunday, the final race before the Olympics.