U.S. hopes for Vonn-derful start to worlds

Mon Feb 2, 2015 9:24pm EST
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By Steve Keating

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado (Reuters) - American ski queen Lindsey Vonn will be the headliner and gold medal favorite when the alpine world championships open with the women's Super-G on Tuesday.

With the worlds back at the posh Colorado resorts of Vail and Beaver Creek for the first time in 16 years, American ski fans will have reason to cheer as Vonn, who last month became the most successful women's skier of all time with 64 career World Cup wins, looks to add to a sparkling resume on home snow.

The spotlight is unlikely to stray far from Vonn during two weeks of racing, prompting the skier to keep a low profile in the buildup to her first event on the Raptor racecourse.

"Windy out there today for the first downhill training run but still had fun," tweeted Vonn on Monday. "Looking forward to the super-g race tomorrow!!"

Vonn has been in sizzling form after topping the podium at the last two World Cup Super-Gs in St. Moritz and Cortina, crossing just ahead of Austrian rival Anna Fenninger, who will bid to add the world championship crown to her Olympic title.

The field will also include the last three world champions in the event, Vonn taking the gold in 2009 with Austrian Elisabeth Goergl the winner in 2011 and Slovenia's Tina Maze in 2013.

While Vonn has plenty of World Cup crystal and a world championship gold to show for her work in the discipline, the Super-G has not always been kind to the 30-year-old American.

At the 2013 championships in Schladming, Vonn left the course on a stretcher dangling beneath a helicopter after a devastating high speed crash left her with shredded knee ligaments, a broken leg and her racing future in doubt.   Continued...

Feb 2, 2015; Beaver Creek, CO, USA; Lindsey Vonn of the United States during training for the women's downhill in the FIS alpine skiing world championships at Raptor Racecourse. Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports