By Duncan Mackay in Vancouver

February 18 - Lindsey Vonn's dreams of winning five Olympic gold medals at these Games ended here today when she crashed out of the super combined event and handed victory to Germany's Maria Riesch (pictured).

Riesch, who was coming back from a disappointing downhill race the day before, was delighted as she claimed her first Olympic medal at Whistler mountain while the downhill winner, Vonn, thumped her fist into the snow after crashing on the concluding slalom leg.

The day started with all the attention on the American Vonn once again after a brilliant win on a treacherous downhill yesterday.

She came to Vancouver with a shin injury, was ahead after the first downhill run and was on course to finish on the podium in the combined when she clipped a gate and tumbled within sight of the finish line.

Riesch, a close friend of Vonn's, said her gold finish came down to getting her nerves under control.

It helped make up for Turin 2006, which she missed because of torn knee ligaments.

She said: "It's resurrection.

"Yesterday I was nervous, my knees were shaking, it was just too much.

"I knew I needed to bounce back with a totally different attitude and I'm good at that but you never know whether it will work out.

"After two seconds I nearly found myself in the forest but I was not going to let this ruin my day.

"I felt at breakfast already that this could be my day.

"I felt calm, relaxed, totally unlike yesterday, and it made all the difference."

Vonn's US team-mate Julia Mancuso stayed on her skis to finish second to add another silver to her second place in the individual downhill while Sweden's Anja Pärson took the bronze after surviving a spectacular high-speed crash the previous day.

Britain's Chemmy Alcott (pictured), 13th in the downhill, finished 11th, equalling her best performance in the Olympics in the downhill in Turin.

The 27-year-old Londoner produced an impressive slalom to climb seven places after what she described as a poor downhill.

She said: "It wasn't ideal. I was trying to be aggressive.

"I thought it was a tactic that would work on the icy course today, but I was just catching everywhere.

"I almost straddled a gate at 70mph.

"After some close calls, I lost some confidence.

"I had such a good run in the downhill yesterday and I felt like I could really build on that, but if anything I went backwards.

"I had no pressure on me from the poor downhill, so it was easier to pull out a good slalom.

"Ten years ago I was a good slalom skier so I tapped into that confidence.

“I was really pleased to equal my best performance at an Olympic Winter Games.

"I’m definitely happy and I’m going to take that forward with me.

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