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Vonn struggles at Lake Louise

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In her first alpine race of the season, American Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn struggled on Friday at the World Cup women's downhill race at Lake Louise, Alberta, an hour west of Calgary.

Vonn placed an abysmal 40th, and showed the world she still has not recovered from reinjuring her knee while training in Colorado last month.

The race was won by Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany, the reigning Olympic champion in the women's combined and slalom. The German star won in very cold conditions with a time of 1:56.03. Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden of Switzerland was second with a time of 1:56.73, followed by Italy's Elena Fanchini with a time of 1:57.23.

One of the biggest stories on Friday however was the impressive performance by the lone Canadian, Larisa Yurkiw, who placed a very respectable seventh after starting 51st in the gate.

According to Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun, Yurkiw was kicked off the Canadian Alpine Ski team this year because she was not considered a legitimate medal threat for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. So in order to continue skiing, she raised $150,000 on her own.

Friday's World Cup race was so cold, the nearby women's ski cross World Cup in nearby Nakiska was cancelled because it was -34 degrees Celsius.

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