7:10 PM EST, December 2, 2011
She has been buffeted all week by the emotions of going public with her divorce.
She was buffeted Friday by high winds while skiing down a Canadian mountain at nearly 80 miles per hour.
But Lindsey Vonn simply put her head down to knife through the wind and push any inner turmoil aside as she won the World Cup downhill in Lake Louise, Alberta by a margin larger than in any of her previous 42 triumphs on the alpine ski circuit.
Vonn's finished 1.95 seconds ahead of Tina Weirather of Liechstenstein.
The triumph -- Vonn's second in her three World Cup races this season and sixth in the last eight downhills at Lake Louise -- moved her past Sweden's Anja Pearson into fourth place on the all-time World Cup list. That makes Vonn the biggest winner of any active skier and leaves her, at age 27, within 19 of career leader Annemarie Moser-Proell of Austria.
Meanwhile, the U.S. skier closest to Vonn on the all-time U.S. list, Bode Miller, won the men's downhill in Beaver Creek, Colo., the 33rd World Cup victory of his career and his first since January, 2010. He won by just .04 seconds under what Miller called "the most forgiving conditions we have ever had here."
"I love to ski the way I did today," said Miller, who often put his quest for the perfect run ahead of winning. "When I came across the finish line, I was 100 percent satisfied."
Sunday, Vonn announced she had filed from divorce from husband Thomas Vonn after slightly more than four years of marriage.
Over the past several seasons, he had become coach, sports psychologist, logistics coordinator, advisor and booster for her. Lindsey Vonn gave Thomas enormous credit for helping her become the greatest skier in U.S. history.
So there were obviously questions about how their split might affect her skiing.
Friday, a reporter at the post-race press conference broached the subject as delicately as possible.
"I know you’ve got other things on your mind," the reporter said. "Is this just what you needed at this particular point in your life? To come to Lake Louise and concentrate on nothing but skiing?"
"Right now, skiing is the best thing for me," she answered. "When I’m on my skis and on the mountain I feel calm and comfortable. Today, even if I didn’t win, just racing and being out on the mountain is what I need. I also have to really thank my teammates and the entire World Cup (group of) girls and Maria. . .Everyone has really supported me, and that has helped me so much through this time."
That Vonn singled out Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch was significant. Hoefl-Riesch is Vonn's biggest competive rival on the circuit and, until last season, her close friend. The two had a falling out when Hoefl-Riesch felt Vonn had not given her enough credit for taking her first World Cup overall title, which Vonn had won the three previous seasons.
The two worked through their differences over the summer. Vonn posted a picture of them smiling together on her Facebook page Thursday.
"It was definitely tough conditions with the wind and the light changing," she said. "I tried to stay in a low position and not let the wind affect me."
Or anything else, obviously.
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