Winter Olympics 2010: Lindsey Vonn Earns USA's Third Gold Medal

Jo-Ryan SalazarSenior Analyst IFebruary 17, 2010

WHISTLER, BC - FEBRUARY 17:  Lindsey Vonn of the United States reacts after competing during the Alpine Skiing Ladies Downhill on day 6 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at Whistler Creekside on February 17, 2010 in Whistler, Canada.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

After a night in which no Americans took to the podium, alpine skier Lindsey Vonn took home the gold medal for the USA at Whistler Creekside in the ladies' downhill event.

Julia Mancuso earned silver for the States, while Austria's Elisabeth Goergl earned the bronze.

Vonn, who hails from St. Paul, Minn., flew through the course with a top speed of nearly 107 km/hr and an average speed of 103 km/hr. She finished with a time of 1:44.19; Mancuso finished in 1:44.75.

For Vonn, it was the perfect ending to a successful comeback from a shin injury.

"This is the best day of my life," said Vonn, who was in tears. "This is everything I've wanted and hoped for. I worked so hard for this. To be able to stand at the finish with a gold medal is amazing. 

"It's awesome. It means everything to me." 

The finish marks the third time two Americans have finished 1-2 in an Olympic Alpine race, and the first time in 26 years.

The Franz Run course was not without its casualties, most notably Sweden's Anja Paerson. Paerson was within striking distance of earning a silver after the first interval when she crashed heading into the final jump. Crashes by Slovenia's Marusa Ferk and Romania's Edith Miklos halted the event for several minutes as well.

Adding to the crashes were unfavorable weather and snow conditions earlier in the week that forced delays and training run cancellations.

Americans Stacey Cook and Alice Mackennis finished 11th and 37th, respectively. Cook completed the course in 1:46:98, while Mackennis finished her run in 2:00.68.

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