Injured Vonn retains World Cup downhill title
LENZERHEIDE, Switzerland (AP) — Injured Lindsey Vonn won a record sixth straight World Cup downhill title without having to show up on the mountain Wednesday.
Fog canceled the race and allowed Vonn to retain her title, beating Tina Maze of Slovenia by one point. The title comes five weeks after a season-ended knee injury.
“Omg I won the World Cup Downhill title!!!!! 6 in a row with a bum knee!” Vonn wrote on her Facebook page.
Vonn’s downhill trophy gives her a World Cup record 17th crystal globe, overtaking Austrian great Annemarie Moser-Proell. The 28-year-old American has won four overall titles and 13 in individual disciplines.
Maze dominated the season but lost a historic chance at sweeping the World Cup titles. She only needed to finish in the top 14 to top the downhill standings. But fog hung on the lower slopes all day and forced the International Ski Federation to cancel the men’s and women’s downhill.
Two years ago, Vonn was denied a fourth straight overall title because weather canceled the season-ending giant slalom in Lenzerheide. Vonn lost by three points to her friend Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany.
“Everything in life comes back around,” wrote Vonn, whose title streak is a downhill record in 47 seasons of men’s and women’s World Cup racing.
Maze congratulated Vonn, who had surgery and is rehabilitating her injured right knee.
“I guess the DH globe belongs to someone else, Congratulation Lindsey! What goes around comes around!” wrote Maze, who already won her first overall title with a record point total.
Vonn raced in only five of the seven downhills, winning twice at Lake Louise, Alberta, and getting a third victory in January at Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.
Vonn has been stuck at 340 downhill points since her crash on Feb. 5 in the world championships super-G in Schladming, Austria. That allowed an opening for Maze, who finished fourth in Meribel, France, and won her second career World Cup downhill in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, to get within a point of Vonn.
The American got an assist from unheralded Spanish racer Carolina Ruiz Castillo, whose victory in Meribel pushed Maze down one place and cost her 10 World Cup points.
Vonn tore her anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments and broke a bone in her lower leg when her ski stuck in softer snow when landing a jump in a race delayed by fog.
Her injury stalled pursuit of Moser-Proell’s record of 62 career World Cup race wins at 59.