VAIL, Colo. — Tamara McKinney gave the United States the first gold medal awarded at the World Alpine Ski Championships, recording a respectable third-place finish in the downhill today to win the women's combined title.
McKinney, who had been second in Sunday's combined slalom behind Swiss superstar Vreni Schneider, overtook Schneider with a surprisingly competent downhill--which is not her specialty.
Schneider, who has won an unprecedented 10 races on the World Cup circuit this season, settled for the silver medal. She ranked 11th in the downhill. Swiss teammate Brigitte Oertli took the bronze.
Mateja Svet of Yugoslavia was fourth in the combined, and Austria's Anita Wachter finished fifth.
Canada's Kerrin Lee paced the downhill with a time of 1 minute, 31.70 seconds. Oertli was second in 1:31.99 and McKinney flashed across in 1:32.10.