The Canadian Alpine Ski Team finished the last weekend with a few points, but a medal would have been better.
The women's speed team — decimated by injuries and retirements — made a comeback of sorts at Lake Louise Winterstart.
America Lindsey Vonn dominated as usual, while a few of her teammates stepped up as well to make it a North American victory of sorts. Vonn won the first downhill in 1:52.61, almost two seconds faster than teammate Stacey Cook (1:54.34). Marie Hoefl-Riesch of Germany and Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein tied for third in 1:54.35.
Larisa Yurkiw, returning from injury, was the only Canadian in the field, placing 44th on the day.
In the second downhill, Vonn won again — surprising no one — this time edging teammate Stacey Cook by 0.52 seconds. Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden won the bronze.
Yurkiw was 47th for Canada in that race.
Vonn made it a hattrick in the super G race — again, surprising no one — with another win. American Julia Mancuso picked up the silver medal from that race, giving the U.S. Ski Team six out of nine medals for the weekend. This time Anna Fenninger of Austria placed third.
Yurkiw finished in the points this time around, placing 25th overall, while teammate Marie-Michele Gagnon was 28th.
"I felt better today," said Yurkiw. "I felt like it was a good opportunity and (a start position of) 33rd is a lot nicer number." She started 51st in both downhill events.
"I think I made some mistakes because I was going for it, so I took a bit of a time sacrifice, but I'm happy with my result."
Yurkiw is one of the only women racing speed this year for Canada with Gagnon and Marie-Pier Prefontaine focusing mainly on technical events. Whistler's Madison McLeish has been getting in a few races but is also coming back from an injury. Kelly VanderBeek is also back on skis after being sidelined with a knee injury in 2009, but is taking it slow.
The big news at Lake Louise, as always, is Vonn. She earned the first big results of her career at Lake Louise in 2004 and has never looked back. She now has a string of seven wins at Lake Louise Winterstart dating back to 2010, and has a total medal haul of 14 gold medals, five silver medals and one bronze — 20 medals — in nine years at the venue.
Her final super G win at Winterstart also represented her career 100th World Cup medal (56th gold), further securing her reputation as one of the most dominating female skiers of all time.
Even more impressive, Vonn was hospitalized the previous week for three days as a result of acute stomach pains, and has been on painkillers since then.
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