Winter sports: Lindsey Vonn picks up speed, finishes 11th in downhill
Lake Louise, Alberta • Saying she felt "much more like myself" than in her season debut a day earlier, Lindsey Vonn finished 11th in a World Cup downhill Saturday.
The four-time overall World Cup champion and 2010 Olympic downhill gold medalist came down the hill with a far more attacking style in the second race of a comeback from reconstructive surgery on her right knee in February.
"That was much better. A lot more like it," said Vonn, whose time was 1 minute, 56.35 seconds. "I'm just really happy with the improvements that I made from yesterday. And just in general, my whole body language was different. I was more aggressive and just more confident and comfortable."
On an afternoon when the temperature at the finish line was below minus-15 degrees, Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany crossed in 1:55.09 to win a second consecutive downhill and take the lead in the overall World Cup standings.
Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein, who was disqualified Friday for wearing an arm protector over her ski suit, came in second Saturday in 1:55.43. Anna Fenninger of Austria was third in 1:55.56.
Vonn had finished 40th of 60 starters in Friday's downhill, her first competition since a high-speed crash at the world championships 10 months ago ripped two ligaments in her knee and broke a bone in her lower right leg.
In Lillehammer, Norway, Sara Takanashi of Japan won the first women's ski jump World Cup event of the season, showing why she is the favorite for gold at the Sochi Olympics. Takanashi won the overall World Cup title last season. Her biggest rival Sarah Hendrickson of Park City is sidelined with an injury.
Takanashi jumped 102 and 96.5 meters on Saturday for a total of 286 points, beating Daniela Iraschko-Stolz of Austria and Gianina Ernst of Germany, who were tied for second with 270 points.
Park City's Jessica Jerome was the top American, finishing in 19th place at 243.9
In the men's event, Austria's Gregor Schlierenzauer topped Taku Takeuchi of Japan with jumps of 105.5 and 97 meters for a total of 288.5 points. Takeuchi was five points behind.
In Berlin, South Korea's Mo Tae-bum won the men's 1,000-meter race at the final World Cup speedskating event before the Sochi Olympics, while American Shani Davis finished third.
Tae-bum won in 1 minute, 9.50 seconds to edge Dutchman Michel Mulder by 0.02 seconds.
Olga Fatkulina of Russia won the women's 500 meter-race in 37.92 seconds, ahead of China's Wang Beixing by 0.04. Heather Richardson of the United States was third.
Ireen Wust of the Netherlands won the 1,500 meters.
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