Lindsey Vonn fulfilled her Olympic gold dream by sweeping aside her rivals in the women’s downhill at Whistler Creekside.
A strong pre-race favourite despite a shin injury, double world champion Vonn flew down the course to post one minute 44.19 seconds, a mark her rivals never looked like challenging.
Vonn’s fellow American Julia Mancuso took the silver with a time of 1min 44.75secs and Austrian Elisabeth Georgl claimed the bronze in 1:45.65.
Vonn, who crashed in training in Turin four years ago, savoured the moment after capturing the Olympic title.
“It’s the best day of my life,” she said. “It’s awesome.
“It is a really bumpy challenging course and I nearly lost it at the top but I just kept it going and I am just so happy that I made it down.”
It remains to be seen how many golds Vonn will go for having won the blue riband event, with super-G, giant slalom, slalom and super-combined still to be contested.
Several of Vonn’s rivals – including Sweden’s Anja Parson – did not make it down, suffering crashes which left the American grimacing with concern as she watched on.
Romanian Edith Miklos has to be strapped into a stretcher and airlifted off the mountain in a helicopter.
Vonn, the 16th starter in a 44-strong field, seized the lead which Mancuso had held.
Germany’s Maria Reisch was expected to be a threat but she made no impact on the top part of the course and could only clock a disappointing 1:46.26 and finished eighth.