by Ralph Routon
Lindsey Vonn of Vail has just finished a dramatic run down the Whistler Creekside ladies downhill course, taking the lead away from fellow American Julia Mancuso of Olympic Valley, Calif., as the United States looks on the verge of two medals in the women's first Alpine ski event of the Winter Olympics.
Mancuso, the 2006 gold medalist in giant slalom, raced down the nearly 2-mile course in 1 minute, 44.75 seconds, which held up through some of the top European challengers.
But Vonn, starting 16th, put together a faster run, beating Mancuso at each timed interval, and finishing in 1:44.19.
Nobody else other than Mancuso is within 1.5 seconds of the lead.