America’s Julia Mancuso was off by .15 in fifth place while Stacey Cook just behind her in sixth. It was close, but no U.S. medals in the Women’s Downhill at the FIS Alpine Ski World Championships. Nada for the men, too.
The downhill in Schladming, Austria was aggressive with racers logging higher speeds than during training runs. A twisty, turny midway section took its toll on the U.S. women who were dominating the course up until that point. The surprise winner was Marion Rolland of France. More than 25,000 fans watched the race in person and millions more on television.
“It was really difficult with fast snow,” Mancuso said. “You had to be 100 percent on it to do well. It was bumpy and fast but it was a lot of fun…When you are at the World Championships you’re charging hard.”
Cook was frustrated. “I know the speed is there, but it took an absolutely perfect run to be on the podium today.” Lindsey Vonn did not compete, out for the season following a crash in the World super-G last week.
The U.S. Men raced downhill Saturday with Olympic medalist Andrew Weibrecht finishing 22nd and teammate Steven Nyman, 25th. Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal took a dominant win over Italy's Dominik Paris while France's David Poisson won bronze.
Next up in Schladming is the Men’s Super Combined (downhill and slalom) with the USA’s Ted Ligety among the favorites. Ligety already surprised the field Wednesday with a gold medal performance in the super-G, normally not “his” event.
Photo: Julia Mancuso (USskiteam.com)