GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (Reuters) - Elisabeth Goergl stunned favorites Lindsey Vonn and Maria Riesch for the second time at the world Alpine ski championships on Sunday, winning the downhill to add to her super-G title.
The 29-year-old Austrian had never previously won a top-level downhill.
Vonn, nearly free of the concussion problems which affected her in the previous few days, took silver and flu-stricken Riesch, racing in her home town, won the bronze, the same result she achieved in the super-G.
It was the first time since February 2009 that a top-level women’s downhill had been won by a skier other than Vonn, the World Cup winner for the last three seasons and Olympic downhill gold medalist, or Riesch.
Since then, the great rivals have won the last 15 between them including last year’s Vancouver Olympic downhill.
Austria have taken all three golds so far in the women’s events with Anna Fenninger winning the super-combined on Friday.
“It was a tough course but conditions were perfect,” Goergl, who had only won three top-level races before Garmisch, told reporters. “I’m amazed by my performance.”
“I liked the conditions, I liked the slope, I had great material. Everything came together.”
With colder conditions than on Saturday, the early starters did not enjoy the same advantage as in Saturday’s men’s downhill.
Goergl, the first of the big names to race, smashed the previous fastest time, set by Swiss Lara Gut, by nearly one minute as she completed the 2.9-km course, with a vertical drop of 720 meters, in one minute 47.24.
Riesch, next to race, was 0.15 seconds behind at the second intermediate time but lost time on the latter half of the course.
Vonn made a slower start but caught up further down to take the silver, her first medal of the championships, after finishing 0.44 seconds behind Goergl.
Vonn has been suffered from the after-effects of concussion following a training accident 10 days ago and pulled out of Friday’s super-combined after the downhill leg.
“This is the best feeling I’ve had since my injury, although I still didn’t have the same self-belief.”
“It was almost the real Lindsey Vonn today but not quite. This silver today feels like a gold.”
Riesch, who went down with a bout of influenza last week, surpassed her expectations with a second bronze.
“I didn’t think I would have a podium finish,” said the German, who has twice finished runner-up to Vonn in the overall World Cup but this year leads the season-long campaign.
Switzerland were again out of the medals, with Gut finishing fourth. Didier Cuche has provided their lone success so far, taking silver in the men’s downhill.
Additional reporting by Patrick Lang; Editing by Clare Fallon; To comment on this story: firstname.lastname@example.org