Lindsey Vonn finally got to share a victory with her little sister — and it was a career milestone no less.
The American ended a five-week winless streak Sunday with an emphatic victory in a World Cup super-G that moved her into sole possession of third place on the career wins list.
The overall World Cup leader's younger sister, Laura Kildow, began a visit to Europe last weekend only to witness Vonn uncharacteristically miss the podium in two speed races as she struggled because of a stomach illness.
“I felt bad last week because I didn't do very well,” Vonn said. “It wasn't a very good example of a World Cup weekend, but this weekend went much better.”
Vonn's 47th career victory moved her ahead of retired Austrian great Renate Goetschl with 46. Only Austria's Annemarie Moser-Proell (62) and Switzerland's Vreni Schneider (55) have more.
“Records in skiing are really important to me,” Vonn said. “The history in our sport is something you can look back on when you're career is over and really be proud of what you accomplished.”
Vonn opened the weekend with a second-place finish in Saturday's downhill, although she almost risked missing that race following a mishap with her sister — which she hesitated to recount.
“Oh my gosh! She's going to kill me,” Vonn said, before explaining what happened when her sister joined her for a warmup run.
“She thought it was going to be really cool to try to beat me and I didn't know she was so close behind me, and she came up and clipped the side of me and totally went down,” Vonn said. “But she had the biggest smile on her face as she was crashing into the woods. We were laughing about it this morning.
“She's so small but she has absolutely no fear,” Vonn added. “I'm disappointed she's not a ski racer because she would have been a great downhiller.”
Cutting a distinct figure in a bright yellow-and-red racing suit that contrasted sharply with the snow and the clear blue sky above spectacular jagged peaks, Vonn finished a massive 0.61 seconds in front of German rival Maria Hoefl-Riesch, with Tina Maze of Slovenia third, 0.86 back.
The last of the top-ranked skiers to start, Vonn led at every interval and was even more than a second ahead of Hoefl-Riesch at the last checkpoint. While she lost nearly half of her lead over Hoefl-Riesch on the lower section of the course, Vonn celebrated as soon as she crossed the finish line, hardly even looking to see her time.
It was Vonn's sixth career win in Cortina, moving her within four of Goetschl's record for victories in a single resort, which was established in Cortina.
“Renate has always been such a role model. I remember a few years ago racing together. She did so much in her career,” Vonn said. “Cortina has always been a special place for me. I had my first World Cup podium here and I like the hill and the snow is always perfect — really dry, dense snow that's really similar to the snow in Colorado where I grew up skiing.”
Vonn also tied Goetschl for the most super-G wins on the all-time list with 17 each, and extended her lead in both the overall and super-G standings. She holds a 291-point lead over Maze in the overall standings and is 87 points ahead of Switzerland's Fabienne Suter in the super-G ranks.
Vonn woke up early to keep tabs on the Denver Broncos in the NFL playoffs, although her team lost 45-10 to the New England Patriots.
“I had my NFL app running and it was alerting me on the scores but unfortunately it wasn't alerting me very often of the Broncos score,” Vonn said. “It's tough but I still have one team in the mix — Green Bay.”
While she'll probably keep tabs on the Packers game, too, Vonn was heading to Venice with her sister before next weekend's races in Kranjska Gora.
“Normally I don't get to do fun things like this, so we're going to have some pizza, maybe some gelato, cruise around, go shopping, take a lot of pictures and I'll update you guys on Facebook on how it went,” she told reporters.
After Venice, however, her sister is leaving to study in Florence.
“I've gotten so used to having her around that it's going to be tough to be alone but I'm working on recruiting more friends to come over,” said Vonn, who announced her divorce from Thomas Vonn earlier this season. “I hope she can come back some other weekend and hopefully some of my other family members can come as well. But I'll be alone for the next couple of weeks, so I'll be sad.”