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Vonn storms to golden double

LINDSEY Vonn of the United States won the women's downhill yesterday for her second gold at the world championships.

Vonn timed 1 minute, 30.31 seconds down the Rhone-Alpes course in Val d'Isere, France.

Swiss teenager Lara Gut finished second, 0.52 behind, to match her silver medal in the super-combined, and Nadia Fanchini of Italy was third, 0.57 back.

Vonn opened the championships by winning the super-G on Tuesday for her first career gold medal at a worlds or Olympics.

After getting disqualified in the slalom portion of Friday's super-combined, she has won four of her last five races, having also posted two World Cup victories in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, the weekend before the worlds.

Vonn joined Andrea Mead Lawrence as the only American woman to win two golds at a world championship. Mead Lawrence won the slalom and giant slalom at the 1952 Oslo Olympics, which doubled as the worlds.

Adding to her two silvers at the last worlds in Are, Sweden, two years ago, Vonn also tied Tamara McKinney for the US women's record of four career medals at the worlds.

Vonn also matched her childhood idol Picabo Street, who won the downhill at the 1996 worlds in Sierra Nevada, Spain. Another American, Hilary Lindh, won in 1997 in Sestriere, Italy.

Defending champion Anja Paerson was faster than Vonn midway down before the Swede made a few errors and finished tied for 12th with Aurelie Revillet of France.

The 17-year-old Gut registered the top speed (104 kph) but couldn't match Vonn's line. While her run was the fastest at the time, Gut shook her head when she crossed the finish line. "I knew it was insufficient for gold. I have incredible pain in the belly. I don't know why. It's certainly not the food, nor nervousness."

The race was scheduled for Sunday, but was postponed due to excessive snowfall.

Elisabeth Goergl of Austria finished fourth and Marion Rolland and Marchand-Arvier of France were fifth and sixth.

Earlier, Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway led after the downhill portion of the men's super-combined event.

Svindal clocked 1:30.99 on a course shortened by poor visibility on the Bellevarde mountain.

Bode Miller of the US was second, 0.04 back, after an amazing recovery when he almost lost control on the bottom half of his run.

France's Adrien Theaux was third, 0.91 behind. Theaux was fifth in the downhill on Saturday.

Miller needed a spectacular feat of acrobatics to reach the finish.

The 31-year-old came out of a tight turn and hit the snow with his right hip while his left leg flew high in the air.

Amazingly, Miller did not seem to lose speed and even closed in on Svindal's time through the icy bottom section.


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