The win marked the 46th of her illustrious career and her fourth consecutive victory this season, setting her apart as the only U.S. Ski Team athlete, male or female, to win four in a row Her time of 1:10.68 proved to be 37-hundreds of a second faster than runner-up Fabienne Suter of Switzerland and 41-hundredths ahead of Austria’s Anna Fenninger in third.
The 27-year-old Vonn almost proved to be her own most formidable opponent, admitting after the race that she had put a tremendous amount of pressure on herself to not only win at home, but to also win on the Birds of Prey men’s racecourse. It was the first time the World Cup women have ever competed on Beaver Creek’s Birds of Prey.
“I was so nervous at the start,” Vonn explained. “I couldn’t calm myself down. I was listening to some rap music, thinking that might help, but it didn’t. Then I went to my coach and asked him to help me. Nothing worked.”
Her run was also not the typical dominant performance from top to bottom. At two of the interval splits, she was behind the time of Suter, who sat in the leader box at the finish. Then, on the bottom section of the course, Vonn stomped on the pedal to claim the win.
“It certainly didn’t go according to plan,” offered Vonn. “I’m so happy that I skied the bottom well. Today is going to be something I remember all my life.”
The large crowd included a large contingent of Vail Valley school children that had been given “excused absences” from school on Wednesday to see Vonn race.
Wednesday’s race was an add-on to the original Audi Birds of Prey World Cup schedule when unseasonably warm temperatures in France forced the cancellation of the competitions in Val d’Isere. Of the two transplanted races run so far, the U.S. has recorded wins in both, with Vonn’s victory today and Ted Ligety’s Giant Slalom win on Tuesday.
Rounding out the Super-G top five were Swiss Martina Schild in fourth and Austrian Andrea Fischbacher in fifth. Other American finishes on the day included Julia Mancuso in eighth, Leanne Smith tied for 11th and Stacy Cook in 30th.
The World Cup men will bring down the curtain on the second week of Audi Birds of Prey racing on Thursday with a World Cup Slalom. The first run is scheduled to kickoff at 9:30 a.m. with the second run on tap for 12:30 p.m.
The 2011 Audi Birds of Prey World Cup Race Weeks are a project of the Vail Valley Foundation. For more information on Birds of Prey, check out www.bcworldcup.com. For additional information on the Vail Valley Foundation, visit www.vvf.org.