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Sports News Roundup: U.S. women flying in downhill racing

Associated Press Most people know of Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso, and maybe recently heard of American teen skiing sensation Mikaela Shiffrin. But who are the other U.S. women finishing atop the podium on the World Cup circuit? Downhillers Stacey Cook, Leanne Smith and Alice McKennis are each in the middle of breakout seasons. They’ve had so much success that for the first time in memory, coaches will have a tough time selecting four starters for the downhill at next month’s world championships. Vonn leads the World Cup downhill standings, Cook is second, McKennis fourth, Smith sixth, Mancuso 11th and Laurenne Ross 21st. Of those six, only four get to start the worlds downhill Feb. 10 in Schladming, Austria. “It’s going to be very difficult,” longtime speed coach Chip White said. While Vonn’s five victories this season have all come in speed events, she hasn’t been alone on the podium. Cook finished second behind Vonn in the opening two downhills of the season in Lake Louise, Alberta. Smith was second in Val d’Isere, France, last month and showed it wasn’t a fluke with a third-place result in Cortina last weekend. It’s clear that the U.S. women are the best speed team in the world. The transformation couldn’t have occurred at a better time — a year before the 2014 Sochi Olympics.


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