Vail’s Vonn sets US record with 19th WC win |

Vail’s Vonn sets US record with 19th WC win

Lindsey Vonn, of the United States, celebrates on the podium after winning an alpine ski, women's World Cup super-G race, in Tarvisio, Italy, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)

TARVISIO, Italy ” A broken champagne bottle couldn’t stop Lindsey Vonn from setting an American milestone.

Vonn’s victory in a super-G Sunday was the 19th World Cup win of her career, moving past Tamara McKinney for the U.S. women’s record.

“I don’t see myself as a record-setter and actually never thought it was possible to pass a legend like Tamara,” Vonn said. “But I’m extremely thrilled and hope that a lot of kids see what’s possible in ski racing and get inspired.”

Vonn, the defending World Cup overall champion, set the mark despite having surgery on a severed tendon two weeks ago. She sliced her thumb on a broken champagne bottle while celebrating a world championship victory, and competed with a specially designed splint on her right hand.

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None of the European skiers could keep up with the 24-year-old from Burnsville, Minn. Vonn clocked 1 minute, 21.72 seconds down the Prampero course, followed by Fabienne Suter of Switzerland, 0.51 seconds back, and Tina Maze of Slovenia.

Bode Miller holds the U.S. men’s record with 31 World Cup victories. Annemarie Moser-Proell of Austria leads the all-time women’s list with 62 World Cup wins.

“It’s pretty humbling to think about how many wins Moser-Proell has,” said Vonn, who moved with her family at age 11 to Vail, Colo.

Vonn swept the downhill and super-G at the world championships before the thumb accident. With her hand taped to her ski pole, she posted runner-up finishes in a super-combi Friday and a downhill Saturday.

“It definitely is nice to have the satisfaction of knowing that I still can win with this

injury,” she said.

Still, Vonn struggled a bit at the start because she couldn’t push off properly. However, she made up time on her way down. Anja Paerson of Sweden had a better time than Vonn until she swung wide on a tricky turn near the finish and missed a gate.

“The start is just killing me, but I just block out the pain and push as hard as I can and it seems to be working OK,” she said.

Vonn increased her lead in the overall standings to 299 points over Maria Riesch of Germany, who was 17th, with nine races remaining.

Last season, Vonn became the first American woman since McKinney in 1983 to win the overall World Cup title. No American woman has ever won back-to-back overall titles.

Vonn has won 11 downhills, four super-G’s, two super-combis and two slaloms in her career. This was her sixth win of the season.

“(Vonn) has such an incredible touch right now,” said U.S. teammate Stacey Cook of Mammoth, Calif., who didn’t finish in the top 30. “I wish it was something the rest of us could feed off of, but it just seems like she’s so far out of our league that we aren’t able to take any of her mojo.”

U.S. teammate Julia Mancuso, of Olympic Valley, Calif., captured a downhill in Tarvisio two years ago, but hasn’t won since. Her best result this weekend was 13th in downhill.

Cook said Vonn doesn’t train more than the rest of the team, she just has better focus.

“She might be smarter. She’s very good about following her routine,” Cook said. “She has her plan and she sticks to her plan and doesn’t let anybody interfere with that. She’s just very strong mentally, and obviously she has the skiing skills to back that up.”

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