Dynamic U.S. downhill duo
Lindsey Vonn breezes to gold, Julia Mancuso takes surprise silver in Olympics downhill
Mancuso finished 0.56 seconds behind, and Elisabeth Goergl of Austria took the bronze medal, 1.46 seconds back.
Britt Janyk of Whistler was the top Canadian in sixth at 1:46.21.
Maria Riesch of Germany, Vonn’s best friend and usual rival of late, finished eighth.
Emily Brydon of Fernie, B.C., was 16th and Shona Rubens of Canmore, Alta., was 21st.
It’s the third time two Americans have finished 1-2 in an Olympic Alpine race, and the first time in 26 years.
At the 1984 Sarajevo Games, brothers Phil and Steve Mahre took gold and silver in the slalom and Debbie Armstrong and Christin Cooper accomplished the feat in giant slalom.
No American woman had won the Olympic downhill before. Hilary Lindh and Picabo Street both took silver — in 1992 and 1994, respectively.
Vonn swept the downhill and super-G at last season’s world championships in Val d’Isere, France, but had never won an Olympic medal. She had a horrific crash in downhill training at the 2006 Turin Games.
Mancuso won the giant slalom in Turin but hadn’t finished on the podium since the Olympic test downhill here two years ago. The Squaw Valley, Calif., skier has won only two World Cup downhills in her career, the last nearly three years ago.
“Coming off a back injury last year, I was in a lot of rehab. I knew that I just had to hang on and keep going for it,” Mancuso said. “It’s really been a tough, long road. I’m happy to be in a position where I feel healthy.”
Lindsey Vonn of the United States reacts in the finish area after completing the women's downhill at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Whistler, B.C., Wednesday.