Lindsey Vonn sets US career downhill record |

Lindsey Vonn sets US career downhill record

Winner Lindsey Vonn of the USA celebrates on the podium after winning the women's Alpine Ski World Cup Downhill race in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, Saturday, March 8, 2008. (AP Photo/Keystone, Jean-Christophe Bott)

In a big day for American skiing, Lindsey Vonn earned the title of best U.S. downhiller Saturday while Ted Ligety won a World Cup giant slalom.Vonn won a World Cup downhill for the 10th time to break the U.S. record set by Picabo Street (1996) and Daron Rahlves (2006).I’m really honored,” said Vonn, who already clinched the World Cup downhill title. “Picabo has been really behind me my whole career. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to talk to her.”Vonn won in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, in 1 minute, 23.57 seconds. Her fifth downhill victory of the season extended her overall World Cup lead.With Bode Miller leading the men’s overall World Cup standings, this could mark the first time Americans capture the men’s and women’s overall titles in the same year since Phil Mahre and Tamara McKinney in 1983.

Renate Goetschl of Austria was second in 1:24.18 and Nadia Fanchini of Italy was third. Julia Mancuso of the U.S. was fourth, missing a top-three finish by 0.03 seconds.Vonn is going after her first overall World Cup crown. She has a 150-point lead on Austria’s Nicole Hosp, who finished 27th Saturday.In Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, Ligety earned his first win since a giant slalom victory in South Korea two years ago.”It’s been a long time, a long journey for me,” said Ligety, the Olympic combined champion.Ligety is closing in on his first World Cup giant slalom title with one race left after winning in a combined in 2:24.31. He edging Manfred Moelgg of Italy by 0.15 seconds, and Massimiliano Blardone of Italy was third.

Ligety leads Benjamin Raich of Austria by 27 points.Miller finished 11th in the giant slalom and kept his overall lead. He’s ahead of Switzerland’s Didier Cuche by 138 points with five races remaining, including the slalom Sunday and four events next week at the World Cup finals in Bormio, Italy.Vonn skied without errors on a day when many had trouble with a jump two-thirds down the slope. The course was shortened because of poor visibility near the top.”I always feel like I can go faster,” Vonn said. “But for me, that’s too dangerous. There are so many risks you don’t need to take. I feel like this season has been a huge step for me because I’ve figured it out.”I don’t need to go 100 percent and take all the risks every single time. I can ski 90 percent, ski hard and still come down and have a great run.”

Mancuso set aside her troubles in training and almost made it an American 1-2 finish.”I was a little nervous after yesterday,” she said. “I did make a mistake and that cost me second place.”Hosp is expected to make up ground on Vonn in the super-combined Sunday. It features a downhill and a slalom – Vonn’s least-favorite discipline.Miller’s rivals for the overall World Cup title, Raich and Cuche, gained ground after finishing fourth and sixth. Miller almost fell in the upper part of the first run and was on the verge of crashing out at the bottom.”When you make a mistake like that, you have to push hard afterward to make up time,” he said. “And I just kept making mistakes after that also.”

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