The Sports Examiner

ALPINE SKIING Preview: Lindsey Vonn readies for season debut in Italy

American skiing superstar Lindsey Vonn (Photo: Stefan Brending via Wikipedia Commons)

A busy week for both men and women on the slopes, with the men in Switzerland and the women in Italy:

Women’s World Cup in Cortina d’Ampezzo

Finally over her November injuries, American speed-skiing star Lindsey Vonn is scheduled to get back on the slopes on Friday for the first of three events at the 2026 Winter Games candidate city Cortina d’Ampezzo (ITA).

A Downhill is scheduled for Friday, another for Saturday and a Super-G on Sunday.

There have only been three Downhills so far this season, with Nicole Schmidhofer (AUT) with the two races in Calgary (CAN) and Ilka Stuhec (SLO) winning in Val Gardena (ITA). Schmidhofer leads the seasonal standings with six races remaining: 226 points to 158 for Stuhec, 153 for Swiss Michelle Gisin and 137 for Nicol Delago (ITA). In other words, it’s wide open.

In the three Super-G races, American star Mikaela Shiffrin won in Lake Louise (CAN) and St. Moritz (SUI), and Stuhec won in Val Gardena. Shiffrin leads the seasonal standings with 200 points, followed by Ragnhild Mowinckel (NOR: 175), Tina Weirather (LIE: 156) and Stuhec (144). Shiffrin is expected to race on Sunday and will be looking for her astonishing 11th win this season.

Even with all the injuries, Vonn is one of the greatest skiers in history, with a sensational 82 World Cup wins. Only Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark (86) has more and Vonn would like to catch him before she ends her career, supposedly next season at Lake Louise. Of the 82 wins:

● 43 in Downhill ~ no. 1 among all World Cup skiers
● 28 in Super-G ~ no. 1 among all World Cup skiers
● 4 in Giant Slalom
● 2 in Slalom
● 5 in Combined

Vonn also knows how to make an entrance. Coming off injury last season, she returned at Cortina d’Ampezzo and was second and first in the two Downhill races!

She’s had about as much success at Cortina as almost anywhere else, winning 12 races there, including 2008 (DH), 2010 (DH/S-G), 2011 (DH/S-G), 2012 (S-G), 2013 (DH), 2015 (DH/S-G), 2016 (DH/S-G), and 2018 (DH).

NBCSN has delayed coverage on Friday at at 7 p.m. Eastern time; NBC’s Olympic Channel has Saturday’s race at 4:30 a.m. Eastern and Sunday’s Super-G at 5 a.m. Eastern. Look for results here.

Men’s World Cup in Wengen

The men’s World Cup circuit is in Wengen (SUI) for three days of racing, including the rarely-seen Combined on Friday, then a Downhill and a Slalom on Saturday and Sunday.

That means two more chances for Austria’s Marcel Hirscher to write his name deeper into the record books. He’s already won nine World Cup races this season (and 67 in his career) and with his next win in 2019, he will have won 10 races in a season for the second time. He will be only the third men’s skier to accomplish this feat, behind Stenmark (SWE: four times) and Hermann Maier (AUT: three times).

Hirscher has 31 wins in Slalom races, but none in Combined, so this could be a first for him.

This season’s four Downhills have been won by four different skiers: Max Franz (AUT), defending World Cup champ Beat Feuz (SUI), Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (NOR) and Dominik Paris (ITA). Feuz has the seasonal lead over Franz, 260-222.

In the Slalom, Hirscher has 436 points after six of the 12 scheduled races, well ahead of Daniel Yule (SUI: 278) and Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR: 269).

Hirscher has won once before at Wengen, in a Slalom in 2016.

NBC has excellent coverage of the Wengen races, with the finish of the Combined on Friday on NBC’s Olympic Channel at 8 a.m. Eastern time, followed by the Downhill at 6:30 a.m. Eastern on Saturday and the Slalom at 4:15 a.m. (Run 1) and 7:00 a.m. (Run 2) on Sunday, also on the NBC Olympic Channel. Look for results here.

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