Olympic and World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn finished first in an impressive giant slalom victory in Are, Sweden on Friday. The race came down to the wire, but Lindsey prevailed to mathematically secure an American record fourth Audi FIS Alpine World Cup overall title. There are still five races left in the season, however, Vonn’s insurmountable lead of 554 points propels her point total to 1,808 — the highest in U.S. history! It was her 52nd career win and was also her 11th World Cup victory of the season which ties the previous single-season record she set back in 2009.
Needless to say, Vonn was ecstatic over the momentous victory, explaining, “I don’t know what to say, I just wanted to have two really aggressive runs today. I had nothing to lose. I’m just having fun. My sister is here and my teammates are so cool cheering me on in the finish. It’s amazing to have so much support. I love my teammates. Only a couple of more races left and we will get to celebrate this year.”
Vonn has surpassed Phil Mahre in the record books as the only American to win four overall titles. She also overtook Croatia’s Janica Kostelic, Switzerland’s Vreni Schneider and Austrian Petra Kronberger — who all won three overall cups during their careers. Only Austria’s Annemarie Moser-Proell has more overall World Cup titles, with six. Vonn will have to keep up this momentum for the next two seasons if she aims to take the top spot in the world.
Janica Kostelic still holds the women’s single-season point record with 1,970 from 2006 and Austrian Hermann Maier has the men’s with 2,000 in 2000. Vonn has an opportunity to win the super G and giant slalom titles with one race remaining in each discipline — she could very well surpass 2,000 points this season and break yet another world record!
When asked about this opportunity, Vonn responded, “Anything is possible, but it’s going to be really difficult [to reach 2000 points]. I’m going to have to execute in every race and seize the opportunity like I did today. I’ve got three big chances to make the top three in the downhill, super-G and the giant slalom [in Schladming]. But I’m going to have to execute.”
Overall, three American women made it into the top 15 with Julia Mancuso skiing strong to take 8th and Resi Stiegler continuing to build upon her new found confidence with a 13th place finish.
A slalom Saturday closes action in Are before the tour moves to Schladming, Austria for World Cup Finals.