USA’s Lindsey Vonn nailed her third Overall World Cup title with the most convincing manner today at Garmisch-Partenkirchen: winning the last Super-G race of the season in which her main rival Maria Riesch came in 4th.
The skier from Vail, Colorado established a new US victory record on the World Cup tour with her 33rd triumph – her 11th this season. She tied for the season wins with other all-time greats as Austria’s Annemarie Moser-Proell, a six-time Overall World Cup champion, and Sweden’s Anja Paerson, who clinched twice the big Crystal Cup. Only Switzerland’s Vreni Schneider did better in 1989 with an impressive total of 14 wins.
Vonn, starting last, attacked the course with her usual reckless determination to beat by 16/100 of a second Austria’s Elisabeth Goergl and by half a second Switzerland’s Nadia Styger. Anja Paerson was a consistent 5th ahead of Slovenia’s Tina Maze, 6th despite strong pains at her back.
Lindsey felt much pain.
“She was not supposed to start today in case Maria could not finish 1st or 2nd because she felt much pain at her leg that she injured yesterday during her crash,” husband Thomas Vonn explained afterwards. “But then she came back to me and said she felt OK and that she wanted to win that 33rd World Cup race and establish a new best US mark,” the former US Ski Team racer added.
“That’s the way she is – always going for it – even when it doesn’t really matter anymore.”
The downhill Olympic champion was definitely very proud of her latest achievement, coming back with amazing determination from another spectacular crash in Thursday’s giant slalom. “It’s for sure a special win for me, I skied hard and gave what I had in me to get down that slope as fast as I could,” she told the press afterwards.
The biggest thing to win in our sport.
“It's so important to me. The Overall title is one of the biggest things you can win in our sport. I always try to give my best every day, but it's a long season,” also said Vonn, who had already clinched the Super-G title at St Moritz two weeks prior to the Olympics. “The last few years have gone really well for me. It's so hard to say whether you'll be able to win the big globe. To stand here in the finish and have a title in my hand is so rewarding.”
“I was so nervous because the Overall title was on the line. To win the last race of the season and to break the U.S. record of 32 U.S. wins - I'm so happy. I'm ecstatic,” Vonn added. “It's been an amazing season - and definitely a long season - but I'm so happy that I was able to ski well today and come through. Having the Overall title is so rewarding and I am so happy.”
Lindsey had a good run.
“I knew what place Maria was in, so I knew it was already secured. But I still wanted to go out there and have a good end to the season,” the 25-year-old also commented. "I'm just really happy I had a good run and was able to end the season well.”
According to US leader, having a course set that was familiar on a race day plagued with tricky snow was also a key factor in her win. “Our coach Alex Hoedlmoser set the course and I definitely think he set it to our strengths as a team. The snow conditions weren't holding up as well as I would have liked and I was the last person to start, so I knew exactly what was going on,” she explained.
In the end, Lindsey Vonn was happy to accomplish so much this year, and said it did not come without the help of many. “It means the world to me. If you had asked me at the beginning of the season if I'd have been able to do that, I would have said 'not likely.' It takes a lot of hard work, not only by me, but from the team, from U.S. Ski Team coaches, from my husband, from Red Bull and my ski company Head,” the skier from Minnesota said.
“It's everyone working together to make as successful a season as possible and I couldn't do it without them.”
Looking for new records.
On the eve of another season's end, Vonn also reflected on the success of her team and what they have to look forward to. “I am really happy with the season as a whole for our entire team. We've had some amazing successes,” she said. “The U.S. is definitely a major force on the World Cup and in the Olympics and I'm really looking forward to next season and the World Championships back here in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.”
Lindsey also explained that she aims to compete at least until 2015 with the desire to establish or break new records. “Hopefully Vail Valley will organize the 2015 FIS World Championships and it would be great to end my career on the slopes where I spent so much time when I was younger,” she said. “In the meantime there are plenty of other opportunities to achieve special performances, starting here with the 2011 Worlds. They should be very exciting with Maria Riesch fighting for more gold medals too. There are other Olympics medals to fight for in 2014 and I will also try to get one or two more Overall titles. It will not be easy because there are more and more good skiers out there.”
Lindsey scored nearly 1700 points during her strongest World Cup season ever – not too far from the record of 1970 set by Croatia’s Janica Kostelic in 2006. “I could have come closer with less crashes this year, but it’s definitely something I can focus on in coming years just to stay motivated during the long period of summer training,” the American commented.