Injured Vonn claims sixth World Cup title

Last updated 08:01 14/03/2013
Lindsey Vonn
Reuters
INJURED BUT VICTORIOUS: Injured Lindsey Vonn won a record sixth World Cup downhill title without having to show up on the mountain.

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Injured Lindsey Vonn won a record sixth 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, recalling her huge disappointment exactly two years ago.

In a strange twist, Vonn was denied a fourth straight overall title in 2011 by similar weather conditions in Lenzerheide.

Then, the season-ending giant slalom was canceled and Vonn lost by three points to her good friend Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany.

"Everything in life comes back around. (hashtag)believe (hashtag)karma (hashtag)onelegvictorydance," wrote Vonn, whose title streak is a downhill record in 47 seasons of men's and women's World Cup racing.

Maze echoed that message in a Twitter post to Vonn conceding defeat.

"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.

Hoefl-Riesch, who had a slim chance of beating Maze in the downhill standings, quickly sent Vonn a message on her Twitter account.

"Congrats to (at)lindseyvonn for the dh globe! Now you know how I felt 2 years ago ;-)," Hoefl-Riesch wrote.

Fog hung on the lower slopes all day and earlier forced the International Ski Federation to cancel the men's downhill. The women's race was canceled at 2:30 p.m. (1330 GMT), three hours after its scheduled start.

Maze has dominated the season but lost a historic chance at sweeping the World Cup titles. Maze needed only finish in the top 14 to top the downhill standings.

On Thursday, Maze will be favored to take Vonn's super-G title. She holds a 55-point lead over Julia Mancuso with 100 points awarded to the race winner.

Vonn's lone trophy from arguably her most difficult season is 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.

Vonn raced in only five of the seven downhills, winning twice at Lake Louise, Alberta, after recovering from a stomach illness. She got a third victory at Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, in January.

After her Feb. 5 crash in the world championships super-G race in Schladming, Austria, Vonn was stuck on 340 downhill points and left the door open to Maze.

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The 29-year-old Slovene then finished fourth in Meribel, France, and won her second career World Cup downhill in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, to close within a point.

Vonn got a huge assist from unheralded Spanish racer Carolina Ruiz Castillo, whose surprise victory in Meribel with a late starting number pushed Maze down one place and cost her 10 World Cup points.

Vonn has been rehabilitating her injured right knee in the United States. She tore her anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments and broke a bone in her lower leg when her right ski stuck in softer snow on landing a jump.

That medal race was also delayed by fog and eventually started at the unusually late time of 2:30 p.m.

Her injury stalled the pursuit of Moser-Proell's record of 62 career World Cup race wins.

Vonn has reached 59 and, injury-free, could reasonably have expected to be within reach of the all-time mark this week.

- Reuters

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