Vonn skis out, Schmidhofer wins super-G at ski worlds

Vonn skis out, Schmidhofer wins super-G at ski worlds

ST. MORITZ, Switzerland — In a surprising start to the world ski championships, Lindsey Vonn failed to finish the super-G on Tuesday and Nicole Schmidhofer won a race for the first time.

Vonn arrived in St. Moritz with a women’s record 77 career wins in World Cup races. The 27-year-old Schmidhofer had zero.

Still, Vonn struggled to grip her right ski pole — a lingering problem since breaking her right upper arm in November — and seemed uneasy before taking a too-straight line and went off the course midway down.

“I feel like (my hand) is strong enough, then I’m in the course and I don’t know where my pole is,” said Vonn, who last won a gold medal at the world championships in 2009.

Schmidhofer had only one runner-up finish since joining the World Cup circuit in 2007, and even that super-G result was four years ago.

After crossing the finish line, the Austrian leaned back and screamed in joy when she saw she was 0.33 seconds faster than second-place Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein. Pre-race favourite Lara Gut of Switzerland, starting immediately before Schmidhofer, was third, 0.36 behind.

“It was surprising for me and I enjoyed the day,” said Schmidhofer, who doubted she would win with Vonn and others yet to start. “I thought, ‘Yes,’ this could be a medal, but not a gold medal.”

Like Vonn, Olympic super-G champion Anna Veith of Austria also failed to complete the undulating course.

Both Gut and Vonn prepared in less than ideal shape after crashing at the previous World Cup races in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

Gut, who won three straight super-G races to start the World Cup season, slumped in the finish area and shook her head after seeing she trailed then-leader Weirather’s time.

“It was my first run after my crash, so I’m happy I didn’t forget how to ski,” said Gut, who now has five world championship medals but no titles.

Vonn plans to change equipment tactics for the combined event scheduled on Friday and her signature downhill event on Sunday.

“I am definitely going to have to duct tape my hand to my pole now,” she said, adding that not to attach it was “too big of a risk.”

Marie-Michele Gagnon of Lac-Etchemin, Que., was the top Canadian in 19th spot, 1.96 off the pace. Mikaela Tommy of Wakefield, Que., was 22nd, Candace Crawford of Toronto was 26th and Valerie Grenier of Mont-Tremblant, Que., was 33rd.

After bad weather wiped out Monday’s planned training session, all racers were getting a first good look at the course — and in a super-G race which rewards the ability to adapt at speed to an unfamiliar gate-setting.

Schmidhofer did just that and was the first to clock 100 kph (62 mph) at the fastest point of the course.

The result repeated a 2007 junior worlds race, when Schmidhofer edged Weirather for gold in super-G. In their careers, both have had season-ending knee surgeries after crashes at the classic Cortina course.

“We both had a tough way to go. It wasn’t easy for us,” said Weirather, who missed the past two Olympics because of injuries.

Weirather, also 27, won her first career championship medal at the same venue where Hanni Wenzel, her mother and an Alpine ski great, won slalom gold at the 1974 worlds.

“Everywhere I go, my mom has already won so it’s nothing new,” joked Weirather, who did win a World Cup finals super-G in St. Moritz last March.

While Vonn and six others in a 46-racer lineup did not finish, 18-year-old Sabrina Simader of Kenya came safely down in 39th place, 8.68 seconds behind.

Simader’s first world championship race was a big step on her path to starting in the 2018 Olympic downhill in Pyeonchang, South Korea.

Graham Dunbar, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Battle of the concert bands in Lake Country

The annual Concert Band competition is held at Creekside Theatre April 24 to 26

Snoozed through the news? We’ve got you covered

Every Saturday, the Capital News will feature popular stories from the week

Immigrant finds Kelowna job market challenging

Pearl has a Master’s Degree in Finance and was able to find work through KCR

Okanagan Eats back for another year

Okanagan Eats features vendors, chef demos, and so much more. This isn’t your average food show.

Kelowna landfill flooding

The ground is soggy at the Kelowna landfill

Lt.-Gov. Guichon believes she made the right decision in last B.C. election

Outgoing Lt.-Gov Judith Guichon said her most memorable moments weren’t surrounding the election

NAFTA: Talks continue through weekend in scramble to get a deal

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called negotiations ‘perpetual’

Pulp mill fined $900,000 for leaking effluent into B.C. lake

Mackenzie Pulp Mill pleaded guilty to depositing deleterious substance into water frequented by fish

B.C.’s 2-year lobbying ban starts May 1

Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists can grant exemptions from the prohibition if public interest

Horgan speaks of government’s successes to ‘friends’ at CUPE BC convention

CUPE BC president Paul Faoro said was first time a B.C. premier addressed convention in some time

Speed Skating Canada fires coach Michael Crowe after investigation

Crowe was a coach on the American team from 1983 to 1991 and again from 1999 to 2006

5 things to know about the ongoing influx of asylum seekers in Canada

Number of illegal border crossings are up this year – as RCMP, military, politicians try to combat

Salmon Arm RCMP arrest one male on child pornography charges

Search of Canoe residence leads to seizure of computers

Letter: We need a parity electoral system

I suggest that it’s high time we consider a system based on a synthesis of available data

Most Read