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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Winter sports: Vonn rivals say only her own mistakes can beat her

Associated Press

ST. MORITZ, Switzerland — The coach of Switzerland’s women’s ski team thinks that Lindsey Vonn is skiing so well, the only way to beat her is if the American makes a mistake.

“Lindsey can only be beaten by herself,” Ansermoz told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “She needs to make a mistake or she needs to doubt something.”
Vonn, who has eight wins to lead the overall World Cup standings, puts her record on the line Saturday at the last downhill before the Feb. 12-28 games.
Ansermoz said his skiers can only try to create a little doubt in the dominating American’s mind.
“Right now, you’re just happy when you’re on the podium next to Lindsey,” he said.
Switzerland will challenge Vonn at St. Moritz with Dominique Gisin, a two-time World Cup winner last January, veteran Nadia Styger and Fabienne Suter, who won last March in Bansko, Bulgaria.
Styger won at Whistler Mountain in February 2008, the only women’s World Cup downhill raced on the Olympic slope in the past 15 years. She beat Vonn by one-hundredth of a second.
“For that, I know I can beat her in Whistler but at the moment it’s really hard for us to beat Lindsey in the speed disciplines,” the 31-year-old Styger said. “If she makes a mistake ... then maybe we can beat her.”
The Swiss women endured a bittersweet day in their injury-riddled season.
Gisin made a surprising return by completing a training run Wednesday on the Corviglia piste only 17 days after undergoing keyhole surgery on her right knee. Her Olympic hopes had been written off following a Jan. 8 crash in a downhill at Haus im Ennstal, Austria — the third of Vonn’s five straight victories.
The upbeat mood faded within an hour when teammate Martina Schild tore the ACL in her left knee when landing a jump near the top of the course.
Schild, the silver medalist in downhill at the 2006 Turin Winter Games, will miss the rest of the reason.
“Martina was coming back to her best form. She won a medal four years ago, she knew what the Olympics is,” Ansermoz said. “It was supposed to be a very positive day to bring back a big leader like Dominique.”
Schild’s injury means Switzerland has lost three speed racers from its Whistler lineup.
Teenager Lara Gut, the silver medalist behind Vonn in the world championship downhill last season, dislocated her right hip in the offseason, while Fraenzi Aufdenblatten tore ligaments in her right knee last weekend at Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. She got her debut World Cup win in super-G last month.
“We don’t have three big candidates for the Olympics and we still have medal chances,” Ansermoz said. “But it’s pretty tough on the team and the staff.”