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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, February 21, 2010

Vonn lets up, gets bronze in super-G

 •  Ohno gets historic 7th

Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Lindsey Vonn collected the United States' seventh Alpine medal in Vancouver after winning bronze in the super-G.

CHARLES KRUPA | Associated Press

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WHISTLER, British Columbia Lindsey Vonn never got the message.

Right before Vonn left the starting gate in yesterday's Olympic super-G, her husband-coach-adviser, Thomas, tried to radio her with a suggestion to change tactics.

That's because several minutes earlier, when five of the first 11 skiers crashed on a shade-filled course the Vonns already suspected was designed specifically to trouble Lindsey, they agreed it would make sense to ease up a bit.

But when the racer right before Vonn made the morning's first truly clean run as the sun began to peek out from behind the mountain, Thomas realized his wife needed to charge all the way down. It was too late. She slowed and finished third behind Austria's Andrea Fischbacher and Slovenia's Tina Maze, adding the super-G bronze to her downhill gold at these Winter Games.

Vonn was convinced she could have should have, really won a second gold.

"Once I passed the tricky sections, I think I let off the gas pedal a little bit. I just didn't continue with that aggression all the way to the finish," the two-time World Cup overall champion said. "That's where I lost the race."

Fischbacher turned in what pretty much everyone was calling the run of her life, in 1 minute, 20.14 seconds. Maze (it's pronounced MAH-zeh) was 0.49 slower and earned Slovenia's first silver in any sport at a Winter Olympics, while Vonn was 0.74 behind for a record seventh U.S. Alpine medal here.

She had no problem navigating a sharp right turn about midway through, but then gave away nearly half a second on the bottom section.

"I wasn't pushing myself as hard as I could have," Vonn explained, adding that her bruised right shin was sore but didn't hamper her. "I just got content, and that's why I'm not on the top step today."

Teammates and competitors agreed. Among those who called Vonn's run "conservative" were Julia Mancuso, the American who already has two silvers at Whistler but was ninth yesterday, and Maria Riesch, the German who is Vonn's close friend and was eighth in the super-G after winning the super-combined Friday.

Maze offered another perspective: "She's human, too."