Anna Fenninger of Austria added a world championship super-G title to her Olympic gold medal, winning the event Tuesday on a shortened course and in blustery conditions.
Fenninger found the perfect line and finished in 1 minute, 10.29 seconds. Tina Maze of Slovenia was second, 0.03 seconds behind, and American Lindsey Vonn was third, 0.15 seconds back despite a wind gust standing her up early in her run.
Vonn, the favorite in a race near her hometown of Vail, momentarily had the lead and the capacity crowd went wild, ringing cowbells and waving American flags. Her boyfriend, golfer Tiger Woods, saw Vonn's name topping the leaderboard and instantly yelled out, “Yes!”
It didn't last long, though. Maze was the next skier down and took over the top spot, silencing the crowd.
Three racers later, it was Fenninger on top, ending Maze's reign as world champion. Fenninger also won the event at the 2014 Sochi Games.
Moments after bursting across the finish line, Fenninger fell to the ground and buried her face in the snow.
“It was an amazing emotion,” said Fenninger, the reigning overall World Cup champion. “I cannot say what this means.”
With the whipping wind and blowing snow, the race was delayed 30 minutes and the start moved down the hill, eliminating a steep portion. That favored the more technical skiers.
“It was not easy to ski with the wind,” said Maze, who earned her seventh medal at worlds. “But today was the first day I put down the run that I wanted. It's a lot of waves, a lot of terrain, I'm really happy I could bring down this run.”
This was Vonn's first event at worlds since a bad crash two years ago in the super-G at Schladming, Austria, tore ligaments in her right knee. She tried to make it back in time for the Sochi Games last February, but missed those Olympics because of a second knee operation.
Leading up to worlds, Vonn said she was treating this big event in front of a hometown crowd almost like her Olympics.
Although Vonn crossed the finish line in first, she had a feeling it wasn't going to be enough, especially after encountering so many wind gusts along the way.
“I thought I skied pretty well,” Vonn said. “I'm happy with the way I skied. I'm happy with the result. I just wish the weather was a little bit better.”
Vonn gets another chance Friday in the downhill, and the weather is supposed to be less windy.
“I just want a fair race and another chance to get on the podium,” Vonn said.