High drama unfolded again today at Whistler Creekside during the women's giant slalom event. The only thing more ominous than the hanging fog that shrouded the course was the air between American teammates Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso after Vonn's crash derailed what looked to be a strong first run for Mancuso.
First there was the Sports Illustrated's cover shot of Vonn in a staged tuck. Now there's a whole gallery of her in SI's vaunted Swimsuit Issue. Is she demeaning or asserting herself? Here's where the SKI staff lands.
We thought the “controversy” over Lindsey Vonn’s Sports Illustrated cover shot was ridiculous. Sure, she’s wearing makeup instead of a helmet. But “suggestive pose?” Come on. She’s a downhill racer, the “pose” is a legitimate tuck—a tool of her trade. If you find it “suggestive,” that says more about you than her. And as far as we’re concerned, whenever SI wants to put a skier on the cover, we’re all for it.
Today, the Austrian coach set the women’s super G course, and today Austrian Andrea Fischbacher walked away with the gold and the country’s first alpine medal of these games. Coincidence? FIS and Olympic rules are such that each course—except the downhill—is set by a randomly selected country’s delegate, usually a coach. Naturally, the delegate sets the courses to favor their athletes’ strengths. But after watching today’s intense and extremely close competition, it would impugn Fischbacher’s performance to write off the win as a coincidence.
Maria Riesch of Germany, who failed to medal in yesterday's Olympic women’s downhill, came out on top in the super-combined today, while her friend and greatest rival, Lindsey Vonn, didn’t even finish.
Maria Riesch of Germany, who failed to medal in yesterday's Olympic women’s downhill, came out on top in the super-combined today, while her friend and greatest rival, Lindsey Vonn, didn’t even finish. Vonn fell in the slalom portion of the race after hooking a ski on a gate, adding further insult to an already injured Olympics: Vonn has been complaining about her bruised shin all week.
Viewers certainly got their share of thrills and, especially, spills watching the women’s downhill at Whistler yesterday. Both Anja Paerson of Sweden and Switzerland’s Dominique Gisin suffered bad falls in the course’s final and biggest jump—called Hot Air—near the finish line. Paerson bruised her left calf, but, amazingly, Gisin walked away unscathed. Atle Skaardal, the women’s race director, is promising to slow things down before the women’s super-combined today and the super-G on Saturday by lowering the Hot Air jump. “I think (the course) was acceptable, for sure.
The Americans ruled the podium in a women’s downhill that lived up to Olympic expectations for excitement.
Lindsey Vonn, showing little ill effects from a shin injury that last week cast her medal hopes in doubt, charged the rough and highly technical Whistler track under sunny skies, laying down a spectacular run to claim her first gold with apparent ease. Only teammate Julia Mancuso—whose run was equally electrifying, came close, .56 seconds out. Austrian Elisabeth Goergl was a distant third, 1.46 seconds behind Vonn.
Lindsey Vonn appears to be on the mend today, after divulging a potentially medal-threatening injury to her shin to the Today Show yesterday morning. On Wednesday, America's big hope for Olympic ski gold told Matt Lauer she had bruised her shin, calling the injury "excruciatingly painful" and reporting that the "muscle is bleeding." But by Thursday morning Vonn was out on the mountain and inspecting the course -- on skis.
Forbes Magazine has put out a list of top-earning athletes competing in the 2010 Olympics. This is a little embarrassing to admit, but the Winter Olympic athlete with the biggest income isn't one of our own. No, that perk goes to, well, a snowboarder: With sponsorship deals from Burton, Red Bull and Oakley, among many others, Shaun White pulled down $7.5 million last year.