Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lindsey Vonn rules the Womens' Olympic Downhill in Whistler.

Finally, we have a break in the weather that is supposed to last for about a week. Blue skies and cold nights mean that we are going to catch up for lost days on our schedule and start running great races. At the top of Whistler Mountain it was beautiful this morning and we were ready for the Womens' Olympic Downhill. The story this week has been all Lindsey Vonn. An American, one of the winningest women racers of all time but suffering from a painful shin injury suffered in training two weeks ago. Could she have the race of her life and realise her Olympic dream?
Here are all of the ladies race bibs strung out at the start waiting for coaches to collect and hand to thier racers.

Thousands of race fans packed the finish area and the noise was amazing. It was a picture perfect day for an Olympic Downhill.

The course was fast and treacherous especially near the bottom as the women rocketed of "Hot Air" a huge and blindingly fast jump that they had only had one chance to train on a few days ago. You have probably seen the clips on television but I have never seen so many horrible crashes in one race in my life. Somehow all of the girls involved, even the one flown off the course by helicopter apparently are OK. Thank God!

Lindsey Vonn actually did have the race of her life. She skiied almost a perfect run. On a couple of the bumps she had to open up a bit but was immediately back into her tuck. It was an amazing display of skill, determination and bravery. Of course I was hoping that our Canadian girls, Britt, Emily and Shona would see thier dreams realised today but it just wasn't to be. They all had good runs with Britt finishing 6th, Em 17th and Shona, after long delays in the start finishing with an excellent run ending up in 21st place.

To add to the American teams' joy, Julia Mancuso, Lindseys' teammate finished 2nd and claimed the silver medal. I can guess what picture will be on the front page of pretty much every newspaper in the U.S. tommorrow!
I feel a bit sorry for Julia. Her performance was every bit as remarkable as Lindseys' but after a couple of questions at the press conference it was all Lindsey Vonn. She has star power and there is no denying it and the press eat it up. Her story, conquering all of the many obstacles that have been thrown in her path and never losing her desire to win is amazing, that's for certain.

Of course tommorrow is another day and we need to be on the mountain at 6:30 am to get ready for the Womens' Super Combined a race that has two parts. A Super-G in the morning and a slalom in the afternoon. Lindsey again is favored but certainly not by as much and we have a couple of girls who shoud do well.
Whistler village continues to rock at full volume. On the way home I stopped to enjoy a couple of tunes by The Barenaked Ladies performing a free concert in the town square. Amazing!!
Stay tuned.

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