ST. ANTON, Austria — Alice McKennis of the United States earned her first World Cup victory by winning a downhill Saturday. Bend’s Laurenne Ross was fifth, just ahead of fellow American Lindsey Vonn, who was sixth after returning from a nearly monthlong break.
McKennis had never finished in the top three before coming down the Karl Schranz course in 1 minute, 14.62 seconds to beat Daniela Merighetti of Italy by 0.07.
“I am overwhelmed, extremely happy and excited," McKennis said. “It’s definitely a dream come true."
Anna Fenninger of Austria was third, and overall World Cup leader Tina Maze of Slovenia finished fourth.
Wearing bib No. 4, McKennis used the advantage of an early start on a course that was softened by fresh snow during the past two days.
“I felt pretty good and I felt I had nailed it, but it’s hard running so early as you don’t know," McKennis said. “It was pretty nerve-racking waiting for the next hour. I was just freaking out the whole time."
Vonn, the defending overall champion who returned to the circuit after recovering from an intestinal illness, was 0.34 behind, while her American teammate Ross was fifth, 0.32 off the lead.
“I am extremely happy for our whole team, Alice winning today, and Laurenne," Vonn said. “The strength of our whole team has been fun to watch. It makes me happy to be part of such a great group of girls. The success we’re having this year is pretty incredible."
A women’s super-G on the same course is scheduled for today.
— The Associated Press