Photo: © ASP Red Bull
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ARE, Sweden (March 11) - Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) added yet another landmark to an already historic season as she took her 21st career win in the downhill at the Audi FIS World Cup Finals to clinch the overall title for the second year in a row. It's the first time an American woman has ever won two overall crowns.
"It's a really special moment in my life. I give my whole life for the sport and to be able to win something like this for a second time in a row - it means a lot to me," Vonn said. "It's why I work hard, it's what I live for and it's special to have been able to put my own mark in the history books."
Although downhill is an obvious strength for the two time discipline champion, Vonn said she was met with challenges in Wednesday's course – the same place where she won World Championship silver two years ago.
"It was a little bit bumpy and there is quite a bit of terrain in the course. There were a lot of jumps and the light was flat, so those things definitely made it really tough," Vonn said. "I knew that I had to be aggressive and really charge if I wanted to get on the podium today."
According to Vonn, her training run allowed her to make the adjustments necessary to finish on top.
"In the training run I wasn't very fast," Vonn said. "I made some adjustments to the line, I attacked and I carried my speed really well from top to bottom. Coming down into the finish I was shocked at the time difference between Renate [Goetschl; Austria] and myself. At that point I knew I that had a good run."
Vonn, who won the race by .40 seconds ahead of Germany's Maria Riesch, had an additional challenge going in to the final races of the season - a still bandaged hand resulting from a cut to the thumb while celebrating one of her World Championship wins.
"When I'm skiing out of the start it's the most challenging. It still hurts and it makes my starts a lot more weak, which has definitely cost me time," Vonn said. "But, during my run I feel like it is almost normal. It's a little awkward with the tape and I can't quite put my pole exactly where I want it, but I think that I've gotten used to it."
With the overall and downhill globes added to her arsenal of victories this season, Vonn looks back on the year and says her success was not a one women show.
"It takes a lot to win an overall title and it's not just my skiing, it's support. All the coaches and staff from the U.S. Ski Team have been amazing. They help me with everything," Vonn said. "I really want to thank everyone for all their support. It's been a great year and I couldn't have done that without them."
But, the year's not over quite yet for Vonn who sits a mere 15 points shy of the super G lead behind Switzerland's Fabienne Suter with the final event of the season less than 24 hours away.
"I'm really looking forward to tomorrow. It's going to be a fight, for sure. But I'm only 15 points behind and I think that anything is possible," Vonn said.
AUDI FIS ALPINE WORLD CUP FINALS
Are, Sweden - March 11, 2009
1. Lindsey Vonn, Vail, CO, 1:42.49
2. Maria Riesch, Germany, 1:42.89
3. Renate Goetschl, Austria, 1:43.75
4, Nadia Fanchini, Italy, 1:44.20
5. Andrea Fischbacher, Austria, 1:44.27
17. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, CA, 1:45.03