Goggia races to Cortina to see Vonn


Sofia Goggia bowed to Lindsey Vonn as the US champion, who went out midway down the course, crossed the finish line, and handed her a bouquet of flowers. Then the two athletes, who shared the victories last year, hugged emotionally. It was the last race in Cortina for the American superstar who has enjoyed twenty podium wins on Olympia and twelve victories. Sofia Goggia paid tribute to this extraordinary champion: "I’m thrilled to be here at the foot of Olympia, I hadn’t planned to. But this morning I woke up at 6.30 and decided that I couldn’t miss Lindsey Vonn’s last race on Olympia. I think I must have broken all the speed limits because I got here so quickly. I love her, and I wanted to be a part of that World Cup magic. Next week I’m going to test my foot out in the training runs in Garmisch and we’ll see how it goes. I live very much in the here and now however".

Goggia became emotional as she spoke of her idol: "She was crying at the finish, Cortina is her favourite course. We don’t really appreciate just how great a sporting icon Lindsey Vonn is, she has won 82 World Cup races and we have had the honour of competing with such a skiing legend. It’s something we can tell our children in fifty years. I still see her as I did when I was a little girl admiring her on television, even though last year we battled it out in the World Cup together and I grabbed overall victory in the downhill from out under her in the last race. I saw the pictures of Cortina’s tribute and heard how emotional she was. I really miss skiing, putting my bib on, feeling my ski on the turn, feeling its core, waiting at the starting gate. But to do all this I have to be sure I am in good shape".

The race – the hundredth in Cortina’s World Cup history – witnessed a truly phenomenal passage of the torch. On the day of Lindsey Vonn’s last race in Cortina, and as the US champion wiped the tears from her eyes, Mikaela Shiffrin, her extraordinary heir, triumphed on Olympia. They may be two completely different athletes, but they have the most important thing in common: victory. As Vonn bid a fond farewell to her public, Shiffrin counted her wins, which now total 54, the same as Herrmann Maier and just one behind Vreni Schneider. Mikaela is 23 and looks set to beat her captain’s record.

Today the overall leader put on a perfect show in the super G: she kept damage to a minimum in the initial flat section, which suits more powerful athletes, but really made the difference in the turns, thanks to her slalom and giant slalom skills. Her elegant, flawless performance dashed Tina Weirather’s hopes of her first victory this season; Tina raced before her and put on an outstanding performance on the tough course set by Lindsey Vonn’s coach. It was so difficult it led Vonn herself to commit an error, even though she appeared to be much improved. Tamara Tippler joined her on the podium, almost three years since the last time, finishing just 18 hundredths behind Shiffrin.

With Shiffrin increasing her lead over Tina Weirather in the super G rankings (300 points against 236) and streaking ahead in the general rankings (1494 against Petra Vlhova’s 898 and Wendy Holdener’s 637), the World Cup will be back next weekend with another classic venue, Garmisch, with the downhill on Saturday 26 and the super G on Sunday 27.

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