Maze sets WCup points record with downhill win
GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) — Tina Maze of Slovenia broke the record for points in a World Cup season by winning a downhill Saturday and became only the third woman to win a race in all five disciplines in a single campaign.
Maze secured the overall World Cup title one week ago and her ninth win of the season took her to 2,024 points in the overall standings. Austrian great Hermann Maier held the previous record of 2,000 points on the men’s side.
“It’s been an incredible season,” Maze said. “It was not my goal at the start of the season to break the mark, my aim was to win the overall title.”
She covered the 1.81-mile Kandahar course in 1 minute, 40.46 seconds. Laurenne Ross of the United States was 0.39 seconds behind for her career-best result, and Maria-Hoefl Riesch of Germany took third in her hometown race.
With 20 podium finishes this season, Maze is second on the all-time list with Phil Mahre of the United States, who did it in 1981-82. Maier holds the record with 22 podium finishes in the 1999-2000 season, when he finished with 2,000 points.
Maze also matched Austria’s Petra Kronberger (1990-91) and Croatia’s Janica Kostelic (2005-06) in clinching a single-season sweep of victories in slalom, giant slalom, downhill, super-combined and super-G.
After crossing the finish line and seeing she had clocked a time to beat, Maze played air guitar with her ski.
“I didn’t have a perfect line, but I took a lot of speed with me,” Maze said. “The snow was a little slower at the top.”
The race was interrupted for more than 20 minutes after Alice McKennis of the United States crashed. She was evacuated by helicopter to a hospital and diagnosed with a broken shinbone.
“Alice McKennis suffered a fracture to her right tibial plateau ... She is stable and will undergo further evaluation to determine the next steps for treatment,” Kyle Wilkens, the medical director for the U.S. ski team, said in a statement.
Racing right after the break, American Leanne Smith lost her balance at the same spot after hitting a bump. She remained upright, but skied off the course.
Maze is aiming for the downhill and super-G titles as well. She is one point behind Lindsey Vonn of the United States in the downhill standings. Vonn is out for the season after injuring her knee at the world championships last month.
Maze also has a 65-point lead over American Julia Mancuso going into Sunday’s race on the same Kandahar course. Maze and Mancuso shared second place in Friday’s super-G. A win is worth 100 points.
“This is a very important weekend for the small crystal globes,” Maze said, referring to the trophies given to season winners in all events.
Ross earned her first podium finish and became the sixth American speed racer to make it into the top 3 this season.
“It was my turn. It’s such a cool vibe to have everyone so fast,” Ross said. “It was hard being at the top and knowing that Alice had crashed, but you have to block such things out of your head. It was bitter-sweet.”
Ross was impressed with Maze’s season.
“It was a special day for me, but it’s really incredible for Maze, really admirable,” Ross said. “I am really impressed that she’s had the strength to pull it off. It’s been a really good year for her and it’s been fun to watch. She is in her own league.”
Maze finished second overall behind Vonn last season without winning a race. But she’s been dominant this season, even before Vonn’s injury. At the worlds in Austria, Maze won gold in the super-G and silver medals in the giant slalom and super-combined.