It was clear up above Lenzerheide, but in the stadium for World Cup finals the fog was brick thick. After a series of delays both the men’s and women’s downhill races were canceled. By rule, races canceled at World Cup Finals are not rescheduled. Aksel Lund Svindal wins the men’s title, and, despite being injured and missing the last month of the tour, Lindsey Vonn wins the women’s, by one point over the amazing Tina Maze.
The downhill standings will remain as they were entering Lenzerheide. Svindal wins his first downhill crown by 58points over defending champion Klaus Kroell. Vonn wins her sixth straight downhill title, a World Cup record.
Svindal has also won his fourth super G title regardless of if that race is held or not. The cancellation will make it more difficult for the speed specialist to overtake technical skier Marcel Hirscher for the overall title. Hirscher leads that contest 1375-1226. If the remaining races at Lenzerheide are held as scheduled Hirscher’s advantage increases as he has been on the podium in all but one technical (slalom and giant slalom) race this season.
Vonn’s crown reflects the overall title she lost in 2011 when a cancellation at Lenzerheide cost her the chance to make up three points. This season Maze had a chance to win as many as five titles, and needed only to finish in the top 15 to secure downhill.
Vonn’s downhill title gives her a record 17 (four overall, six straight in downhill – also a record – and four in super G). Despite missing weeks of training just before the beginning of the speed season she managed six Cup wins, sweeping two downhills and a super G at Lake Louise, another super G win at St Moritz, a downhill win at Cortina d’Ampezzo and her third GS win at Maribor.
Svindal won the opening downhill of the season at Lake Louise, and although he did not win another until the World Championships (which did not count toward World Cup standings) he did add podium results at Beaver Creek, Bormio and Kvitfjell. He was fifth twice and his worst finish of the season was a ninth at Kitzbuehel.
His super G season was considerably better: four wins and a second. His worst SG finish of the season was a bronze medal at World Championships.
The only other Norwegian to win the downhill was Lasse Kjus in 1999.
Doug Haney photo