CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy — Once again Canadian Larisa Yurkiw had to play second fiddle to American Lindsey Vonn.
Yurkiw, of Owen Sound, Ont., finished second in a women’s World Cup downhill event Saturday. Vonn won the race, her record 37th downhill title to break Annemarie Moser-Proell’s all-time record.
Vonn beat Yurkiw by 0.28 seconds on the Olympia delle Tofane course — the same site where she eclipsed Moser-Proell’s overall women’s record of 62 victories a year ago — with a nearly flawless run amid windy conditions.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Vonn said. “I was really nervous today, actually. I’ve won so much here, and there was just a lot of pressure. The more people talk about records the harder it is to break them.
“So I tried to stay focused on my skiing, and I thought I skied really well on the top. I went a little bit too straight on the bottom. But I was able to pull it off.”
On Jan. 9, Yurkiw was second to Vonn when the American earned her record-tying 36th downhill win in Austria.
Lara Gut of Switzerland finished third, 0.67 behind, and maintained a 10-point lead on Vonn in the overall standings. Vonn has seven wins this season to Gut’s four.
Moser-Proell, the Austrian great, set her record from 1971-80.
Vonn won her first downhill in 2004, and earned her first podium finish in Cortina in 2004.
“She was lucky with the wind but she deserves the record,” said Austrian veteran Elisabeth Goergl, who finished 13th.
Vonn also matched Renate Goetschl, another Austrian, with a record 10th win in Cortina.
It was Vonn’s 74th win across all disciplines, moving her closer to Ingemar Stenmark’s all-time mark of 86.
“No, no, no. Stop talking about Ingemar,” Vonn said. “I need to just focus (on Sunday), one race at a time.
“I can’t start calculating the numbers because it just gets in my head and it makes it a lot harder than it needs to be. I just need to ski solid and not have any mistakes and then the results will come, and then the records will come. But you can’t put the cart before the horse.”
Vonn increased her advantage at every checkpoint and averaged 98.71 kilometres an hour down the twisty course, one of the most challenging on the women’s circuit and recognized for the Tofane schuss — an imposing and dark chute through two walls of rock.
Vonn holds a 122-point lead over Yurkiw in the downhill standings, having won four of the five downhills.
Yurkiw, who raised her own funding for a one-person team, recorded her third consecutive podium in downhill.
Vonn can go for win No. 75 in Sunday’s super-G.
“Tomorrow,” Vonn said, “is hopefully another chance to win.”
photos Janos Schmidt