Vonn captures World Cup downhill trophy
BORMIO, Italy – Lindsey Vonn picked up her World Cup downhill trophy on Wednesday, and joins Bode Miller in a quest to win the overall title this weekend.Vonn, who clinched the downhill title last month, was awarded the downhill crystal globe after the men’s and women’s final downhill of the season was canceled because of soft snow on the Stelvio course.Vonn is the first American woman to win the downhill trophy since Picabo Street in 1995 and ’96.”The first time I met Picabo I was 9, and that’s when I first decided that one of my goals was to win a downhill title,” Vonn said. “She really inspired me and made me want to win it. I’m just ecstatic.”
Vonn and Miller are attempting the first U.S. sweep of the World Cup overall ski titles in 25 years.Entering the World Cup finals, Vonn holds a 157-point lead ahead of Maria Riesch of Germany in the overall World Cup standings, and Miller has a 169-point edge on Didier Cuche of Switzerland heading into the final super-G, giant slalom and slalom of the season.While Miller won the overall in 2005, the U.S. hasn’t captured the men’s and women’s crowns in the same year since Phil Mahre and Tamara McKinney in 1983.Miller was upset with race organizers who canceled the downhill training run Tuesday, handing the discipline title to Cuche. Miller trailed him by five points before the event was canceled, missing a chance on a downhill title and picking up more overall points.
On the upside, U.S. men’s coach Phil McNichol delegated the course setting responsibilities for Thursday’s super-G to his former colleague John McBride, who is Miller’s personal coach.”Bode’s going for the overall and Ted (Ligety) is skiing super-G, but our speed guys didn’t make it,” McNichol said. “We’re just trying to help those guys do what they need to do.”Cuche should wrap up the super-G title. He holds an 89-point lead over Christoph Gruber of Austria.Miller, who won the super-G title two of the past three seasons, is winless in the event this season, with only two runner-up finishes.
McNichol admits he rarely speaks to Miller, who broke away from the U.S. Ski Team to train and race on his own this season”It’s been quiet,” McNichol said. “I don’t know how to describe it. We say hello and then we go and do our own things. But I want Bode to succeed and I want U.S. skiers to do well.”Riesch leads the women’s super-G ranks with a 53-point advantage on Elisabeth Goergl of Austria. Vonn struggled this season in super-G, with two fourth-place finishes her best.”That’s something I can improve. I haven’t been on the podium once,” Vonn said.
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