High winds caused organizers to shorten the women’s downhill course at the world championships in Are, Sweden, the site of the final race in the historic career of the U.S.’ Lindsey Vonn.
The short course was thought to be a plus for Vonn’s curtain call. In Are, Vonn has been know to run into trouble in the upper section of the downhill.
Skiing third, Vonn stood in the gate, her right leg twitching with adrenaline. Leading up to her final race, Vonn had stated she would come out with “guns blazing,” and she did.
Vonn picked up time on the leader throughout her run, starting off .23 hundredths of a second back at the first split, but by the time she crossed the finish line Vonn had taken the lead by .33 hundredths of a second.
With Vonn down the mountain safely and sitting in first place her family and friends could let out a collective sigh of relief. NBC Sports’ Steve Porino said he had spoken to Vonn’s father Alan Kildow in Are before the start of the race. Kildow told Porino he had never been nervous before a race, but knowing how his daughter would attack the course, his only hope was for her to get to the bottom in one piece.
Waiting for Vonn at the finish was the man who has won more Alpine skiing races than anyone in history, Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark. Vonn pleaded with Stenmark via text to come to her final race.
“Ingemar being in the finish area was literally the best thing that ever happened in my life,” Vonn told NBC Sports.
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SOURCE: NBC Sports, Nate Clark