Lindsey Vonn showed no sign of injury Wednesday as she raced through the women’s downhill with ease, capturing gold, in a crash-filled event.
Vonn is the first American woman to win gold in Olympic downhill.
Two days before the Vancouver Games, Vonn announced that she had a severely bruised right shin, leaving fans doubting whether she would be able to compete.
“I was so nervous and I’m just so happy I made it down,” a very emotional Vonn told CTV “This is the best day of my life.”
Rival and U.S. teammate Julia Mancuso won silver with a time of 1:44.75 while Austrian Elisabeth Goergl earned bronze finishing the course in 1:45.65.
Vonn’s win was by a long shot in a sport where a mere second is considered an eternity.
To put her victory into perspective, the time between first and third place was 1.46 seconds whereas in the men’s downhill the margin was only 0.09 seconds.
Whistler resident Britt Janyk was the top Canadian with a respectable sixth place finish, while Emily Brydon and Shona Rubens placed 16th and 21st, respectively.
Sweden’s Anja Pärson, who is a five-time Olympic medallist, suffered a crash on the final jump coming into the finish and had to receive medical attention before limping off the course with a doctor.
The event was delayed by more than half an hour when Romania’s Edith Miklos took a nasty spill and had to be strapped to a stretcher and airlifted off the hill.
Miklos did the splits then went into a front summersault before awkwardly tumbling into the plastic safety fencing along the side of the course.
An embarrassing moment for France’s Marion Rolland left onlookers wondering how something like that could even happen.
Right out of the start gate Rolland tipped over, going only about 10 km/hr, and wiped out.
Rolland stayed down, but it seemed to be her pride that hurt the most.
Franz’s Run, where the female alpine events are taking place, was ravaged by poor weather conditions earlier this week.
Training was postponed last weekend, the original race date was cancelled, and when the women finally did hit the slopes Monday for their practice runs, they were squeezed in around the men’s downhill medal race.
Many skiers had difficulty with the course, perhaps due to the lack of training runs, with six athletes going down at one time.