The 2019-20 World Cup season has officially wrapped, albeit anticlimactically. In the absence of World Cup finals and the tech races in Are and Kranjska Gora, the overall World Cup winners for the men and women were announced remotely, without one last battle for the globes. The points were tight, but without the final races, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde and Federica Brignone walked away with the overall titles.
Brignone’s win is historical for the Italian Ski Federation, as she is the first woman in the nation’s history to win the overall title. She joins the ranks of Piero Gros, Gustav Thoeni, and Alberto Tomba on the men’s side.
“Winning the overall was my biggest dream, and I can’t believe it still, it’s just too bad that it happened like this cause I wanted to fight until the end,” said Brignone. “But I think that making history in this moment, for my country, is even better. I’m so thankful for everybody that has helped me to achieve this great goal. I think alone I would have never won an overall globe.”
Brignone won the overall title by 153 points over Mikaela Shiffrin. Petra Vlhova finished third in the overall standings. In addition to the overall title, Brignone also conquered the giant slalom and alpine combined, earning three globes in total, the most she has ever taken home. A true competitor, Brignone was hungry for more, despite her winnings. In the super G, she fell short behind Switzerland’s Corinne Suter, who swept both the super G and downhill globes. Brignone finished behind Suter in the super G standings by 19 points.
“The only regret that I have is the super G World Cup because in Bansko I really lost it because I fell and not finishing the season as we wanted, not fighting until the end with the others because it was a big fight,” explained Brignone. “Not celebrating with my team, not doing the ceremony, not having the globe right now, this is my regret.”
Vlhova also made history for her country, becoming the first Slovakian to ever win a crystal globe. She walked away with both the slalom and parallel slalom titles. Vlhova finished on the podium in 13 of the last 15 World Cup slalom events held, winning the last three, making her the most successful Slovakian slalom skier of all time.
“I made history, there’s nobody before me who has won a globe,” said Vlhova. “So this means a lot to me because I am from Slovakia and I am really proud of my country and my fans. I think they are almost happier than me because they are with me all season. When I was young I was always dreaming of the times I can win a globe. Of course, I was happy, and also angry because I want to race. ”
On the day FIS announced Are’s cancellation, Shiffrin had announced she planned to return to racing at the venue one last time in the 2020 season to honor her late father, Jeff. The parallel slalom, giant slalom, and slalom that were scheduled would have given her a shot at earning at least one globe, the slalom. Going into the weekend, she sat a mere 20 points behind Vlhova.
Unfortunately, the season was cut short, and Shiffrin did not have the opportunity to compete one last time. Despite her six-week absence, the 24-year-old walked away from the season second in the overall and slalom standings, third in giant slalom standings, fifth in the downhill, and seventh in the super G.
Although there is some disappointment from the athletes surrounding the lack of races toward the end of the season when it comes to the coronavirus, many have spoken up on social media platforms to emphasize that safety should be the top priority.
The men’s overall crystal globe ended up being awarded to Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, who had been leading France’s Alexis Pinturault by 58 prior to the cancellation of Kranjska Gora.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t get to race in Kranjska Gora and also Cortina, which would be the perfect ending of a great season, but in the end, we have to take care of the health situation in the world and we have to make sure that we, together as people can change and try to avoid too much of the spreading of this coronavirus,” said Kilde. “The decision made is good for us, but it’s also good for the rest of the world.”
Kilde joins Kjetil Andre Aamodt, Lasse Kjus, and Aksel Lund Svindal in the ranks of Norwegian men who have won the World Cup Overall. Kilde finished on the podium six times throughout the course of the season in the super G, downhill, and alpine combined collectively. Kilde also made a significant improvement in his giant slalom performances finishing in the top six in the last five GS races of the season.
“It’s a lot of pieces put together but the biggest reason [I won] is hard work and a strong team,” explained Kilde. “You never should be happy with where you are, there’s always something to get better at. But you also have to enjoy the moment, when things are going well.”
The highly anticipated tech races in Kranjska Gora were set to decide the winner of the men’s giant slalom and slalom crystal globes. Henrik Kristoffersen led each by a mere handful of points. In the slalom, he sat only two points ahead of France’s Clement Noel, and in the GS he was only six points ahead of Alexis Pinturault. With the cancellation of the races, Kristoffersen did not have to match up with the Frenchmen one last time to see who would end up on top. He ended the season third overall but finished with two coveted titles.
The World Cup calendar is not the only calendar that has been plagued by cancellations in the wake of the coronavirus. Alpine Canada and U.S. Ski & Snowboard announced on March 12 that they plan to cancel the remainder of scheduled domestic events, including National Championships and the NorAm Final. The NCAA National Championships and World Juniors were also canceled mid-event, only just getting underway.
Women’s summary of the 2019/20 season
- Overall World Cup Winner: Federica Brignone (ITA)
- Slalom World Cup Winner: Petra Vlhova (SVK)
- Giant Slalom World Cup Winner: Federica Brignone (ITA)
- Super G World Cup Winner: Corinne Suter (SUI)
- Downhill World Cup Winner: Corinne Suter (SUI)
- Alpine Combined World Cup Winner: Federica Brignone (ITA)
- Parallel World Cup Winner: Petra Vlhova (SVK)
- Longines Rising Ski Star: Alice Robinson (NZL)
- Women’s Nations Cup Winner: Italian
- Best Ski Manufacturer Award: Rossignol
Men’s summary of the 2019/20 Season
- Overall World Cup Winner: Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (NOR)
- Slalom World Cup Winner: Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR)
- Giant Slalom World Cup Winner: Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR)
- Super G World Cup Winner: Mauro Caviezel (SUI)
- Downhill World Cup Winner: Beat Feuz (SUI)
- Alpine Combined World Cup Winner: Alexis Pinturault (FRA)
- Parallel World Cup Winner: Loic Meillard (SUI)
- Longines Rising Ski Star: Clement Noel (FRA)
- Men’s Nations Cup Winner: Switzerland
- Best Ski Manufacturer Award: Rossignol