Lindsey Vonn: 47 and counting

After she had won the super-G Sunday at one of her favorite spots, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, and made history yet again, Lindsey Vonn shared a little bit of herself.

Last week, at the World Cup stop in Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria, Lindsey was suffering from a stomach illness. She came in 18th in the super-G — the first time in 19 starts she missed a World Cup super-G podium. It was her worst finish in super-G in five years.

“You know,” she said after winning Sunday, her 47th career World Cup win, “for me, if I don’t have the strength, I can’t do what I want to do and I don’t trust myself. Confidence and trust are very important things in my skiing. I have those two things back.

“I knew what I had to do to win the race today and I think I executed my plan well. I”m really happy the way the whole weekend went and I’m really proud of buy whole team. As a team, we had an incredible weekend. Stacy and Julia and Leanne and Laurenne and everyone is skiing really well. So I think for the entire U.S. team — it was very successful.”

Lindsey Vonn celebrates with the U.S. Ski Team coaching staff after her super-G victory at Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy // photo courtesy Doug Haney and the U.S. Ski Team

There you have it, in two paragraphs — Lindsey Vonn, the 2012-season version.

Confidence and trust in her own skiing and the bond with her team that helps keeps her going amid the — many — other distractions in her life, some deeply personal.

The victory lifts Lindsey into third on the all-time World Cup win list, ahead of Austria’s Renate Goetschl, who has 46. Switzerland’s Vreni Schneider has 55; Austria’s Annemarie Moser-Proell has 62.

“The records in skiing are really important to me,” Lindsey told reporters afterward.

“It’s the history of our sport and it’s something you can look back on and be proud of what you’ve done with your career. I never thought that I’d be able to reach as many victories as I have now. Renate has always been such a role model. I can’t believe I’m at a point where I can stand alongside her in history.”

Lindsey hadn’t won a World Cup race since a super-G Dec. 7 at Beaver Creek, Colo. She led Sunday at every interval, finishing in 1:26.16. Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch, last season’s World Cup overall winner and Lindsey’s longtime friend and rival, finished second, in 1:26.77. Slovenia’s Tina Maze took third, in 1:27.02.

Cortina, as Lindsey noted, is where she first made her first World Cup podium — eight years ago, in the downhill. The victory Sunday was her fourth straight super-G win in Cortina and sixth at the Italian resort.

“I say it every time I come here: Cortina is always a special place for me … I like the hill. It’s — the snow is perfect here. It’s always dry, dense snow, similar to Colorado where I grew up skiing.”

When you have that and when you ski with confidence and trust in yourself, you get classic Lindsey — a “good combination of risk and aggression but still staying in control,” as she put it immediately after the race, declaring, “I’m happy.”

Julia Mancuso finished fifth, just 12-hundredths back of Maze. Leanne Smith finished 10th — the third-best result of her career. Laurenne Ross took 13th — her second-best result-ever. Stacey Cook, who had finished sixth in Saturday’s downhill, finished 25th. Alice McKennnis landed in 38th.

The Americans were awarded what’s called the “Cortina Trophy,” which goes to the most successful team over the weekend. Imagine how even a few years back how that would have been unthinkable — an American ski team winning such an award in the heart of Europe.

With the victory, Lindsey now leads the 2012 overall World Cup standings by 291 points over Maze. She leads the super-G standings by 87 points over Fabienne Suter of Switzerland.

All in all, there was only discordant note to the day. Asked by a reporter about Denver’s blowout loss to the New England Patriots in the NFL playoffs Saturday night, Lindsey — who, remember, is a Colorado girl and even Tebowed after her super-G win in Beaver Creek — said, “I’m really bummed out the Broncos lost.”

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