LAKE LOUISE, Alberta (Reuters) -It was different conditions but the same result as the dominant Sofia Goggia shot through a snowstorm to complete an Alpine World Cup Lake Louise downhill double on Saturday, extending her winning streak in the discipline to six races.
The Italian Olympic champion did not just sweep the opening two downhills of the season but crushed the competition, winning Friday’s race nL1N2SO2TG in brilliant sunshine by a massive 1.47 seconds over American Breezy Johnson.
She returned to the mountain on Saturday to take a 0.84 second victory in near blizzard conditions, again leaving Johnson a distant second.
Swiss Corinne Suter completed the podium.
“The visibility was really flat so it was not as easy to read the terrain as it was yesterday,” said Goggia, who stamped her status as the gold medal favourite in alpine skiing’s glamour event at next year’s Beijing Winter Games.
“I had a really a safe and solid run.
“Today I won with eight tenths which is a huge advantage but compared to yesterday it is way much closer.”
The only thing that has been able to keep Goggia off the downhill podium in the last two seasons has been injury.
Last year she opened the campaign with second place in Val d’Isere and then reeled off four consecutive victories before suffering a knee injury in January that cut short her season.
The 29-year-old has picked up where she left off prior to her injury with her two victories in Lake Louise giving her six straight, bringing her career total in the discipline to 10.
The last skier to win six consecutive downhills was American Lindsey Vonn heading into the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Goggia becomes the 11th woman to record at least 10 career World Cup downhill wins and joins Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami (11) as the only active skiers to hit that mark.
“It is never the place you are in, it is how you are inside of yourself how you approach a race,” explained Goggia of her success. “I worked very much within myself to be very solid.
“It is unbelievable (six consecutive wins) but I am just going race-after-race, turn-after-turn so I am not looking at these kind of statistics.”
The women wrap up their North American swing with a super-G on Sunday where Goggia will try to become the first skier to sweep all three Lake Louise races since Vonn, who managed the feat three times – in 2015, 2012 and 2011.
While Goggia has three career super-G wins, the Italian said Sunday’s race will be the toughest.
“I think I could already see in the last season my challenge was not the downhill after the downhill,” said Goggia. “It has been the super-G after the downhill so I think my challenge this weekend is going to be tomorrow.”
(Reporting by Steve Keating; Writing by Amy Tennery; Editing by Ken Ferris)