|WHISTLER, B.C. (Feb. 22) - Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) ignored flat light to become the second U.S. skier to win a World Cup downhill title Friday. She finished second - one-hundredth of a second away from Swiss Nadia Styger's victory - and clinched the season-long DH championship. Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) completed the podium in third place while Vonn also reclaimed the overall points lead.|
Austrian Renate Goetschl, who finished fifth, needed to win the last three races and Vonn needed to be only fourth or better in one race to clinch the crown, the first by a U.S. skier since Picabo Street in 1996 - Vonn's childhood idol and now a good friend. With nine races remaining, Vonn has 1,063 points to 999 for defending champion Nicole Hosp of Austria, who was 15th in the DH.
"It's amazing I won the trophy," Vonn said. "It's been a dream of mine since I was a kid to win. It's been a long time coming. The last two years I was really close - injuries last year and mistakes the year before, so I'm really happy with the way it's finally done."
Styger's winning time was 1:45.30 with Vonn finishing in 1:45.31, scrubbing time on the last big turn before the final jump when she skied too straight into the turn. Mancuso finished in 1:45.49 with Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA) 24th, World Cup rookie Chelsea Marshall (Pittsfield, VT) 25th and Leanne Smith (Conway, NH), another rookie, 31st, just 0.06 out of the top 30.
"The light was so flat and it got really bumpy in some sections," Vonn said. "I came out of a right-footer [left turn] and was going too straight, so I started my turn too early on that last left-footer, and I lost it all.
"One-hundredth is so annoying because it's so close. I'd rather lose by a tenth, but I'm happy I won the downhill title. That's really good and it's really important to me."