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US skier Lindsey Vonn to use hi-tech suit at Olympics

Lindsey Vonn
Vonn said she was searching for 'the tiniest advantage' on the slopes

United States skiing sensation Lindsey Vonn expects to wear a new ultra-fast suit at next month's Winter Olympics.

The polyester suit from US firm Spyder could shave hundredths of a second off times - vital in skiing, where such margins could decide Olympic medals.

"The guys were in Switzerland two weeks ago doing some testing and they said things went well," said Vonn after her fifth World Cup downhill win in a row.

The US and Canadian teams will have use of the suits at the Vancouver Games.

The International Ski Federation (Fis) is understood to have given the design initial approval at recent tests, and Vonn will be among the first to adopt the suits after the 2010 Winter Games begin in Canada on 12 February.

"I've heard great things about them and that they are exceptionally fast," said Vonn, 25, who leads the World Cup series as defending champion.

"We are looking for all the help we can get and I'm looking forward to trying it on.

"It won't change the way I ski, but if I get an extra couple of a hundredths off thanks to the suit, then great."

The development of ultra-fast suits in skiing carries echoes of similar technological advances in swimming since the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Dozens of swimming world records were broken in 2009 after the introduction and widespread adoption of 100% polyurethane suits.

Swimming's world governing body, Fina, subsequently banned the designs despite initially giving them their blessing, and the suits have been illegal since the beginning of January 2010.

To win five races is not easy. You have to stay in top form

Lindsey Vonn

Many swimmers have called for world records broken in the suits to carry asterisks pointing out the technology used, and skiing organisers will pray their sport's record books do not descend into similar chaos.

Vonn, meanwhile, continues to dominate the women's field without the use of the new suit, racking up her second win in two days and eighth of the season earlier on Saturday.

At the Italian resort of Cortina D'Ampezzo she was 0.42 seconds ahead of Germany's Maria Riesch in the downhill, with Sweden's Anja Paerson and Nadja Kamer of Switzerland tied for third another four-tenths of a second behind.

The victory saw Vonn go level with her childhood heroine and former US ski racer Picabo Street, who won five downhill races on the trot in the 1994/5 season.

"Picabo Street was my idol when I was a youngster, I did not know of her records," said Vonn.

"To win five races is not as easy as that. You have to stay in top form.

"There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. It is very hard both mentally and physically."

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see also
Vonn given all-clear after X-ray
28 Dec 09 |  Vancouver 2010
Foster wants world records wiped
08 Dec 09 |  Swimming
Hi-tech suits banned from January
31 Jul 09 |  Swimming
Vonn wins overall World Cup title
11 Mar 09 |  Winter Sports

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