Lindsey Vonn won the World Cup super-G title for the fifth time after winning the last race in the discipline on Thursday at the season-ending finals.
The day after clinching the downhill title, the 30-year-old American extended her record number of crystal globes in women’s Alpine skiing to 19, equaling Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark’s total.
"I never imagined I’d have so many," said Vonn, who battled back this season from two career-threatening knee injuries. "To tie with Stenmark is pretty incredible."
With 67 race wins, also a women’s record, Vonn is still some way behind Stenmark’s 86 wins in men’s skiing.
Vonn held a slender eight-point lead over rival Anna Fenninger heading into the race, and was under pressure after the world super-G champion posted the fastest time. Vonn was only .01 second ahead at the first time split but then pushed it to .41 ahead at the second.
"Even though I have 19, these two are probably the most special of all of them," Vonn said. "Pretty much everyone didn’t think I would be back. For myself, for everyone who doubted me, this is a pretty good answer."
Despite landing awkwardly after a jump, Vonn kept accelerating and finished .49 clear of Fenninger, who gained some ground on Tina Maze in the race for the overall title. Maze finished third.
"Anna put a lot of pressure on me. I knew she was leading when I was at the top and I just skied as hard as I could," Vonn said. "I was definitely on the limit, especially at the bottom. I just attacked and I had nothing to lose and I’m just thrilled with the win today."
Fenninger, the defending overall World Cup champion, is 32 points ahead of Maze. There is a team event on Friday before the weekend’s slalom and giant slalom races.
After crossing the line, Vonn turned around quickly to check her time. She knew it was good, but the half-second margin seemed to surprise even her.
She raised both arms in the air, tucked her poles into her stomach, and then tumbled into the snow. With her hands stretched out, Vonn lay on her back for several moments, savoring the moment as fans cheered her on at the bottom of the Roc de Fer course.
Vonn overtook Austrian great Annemarie Moser-Proell’s 35-year-old record of 62 race wins earlier this season.
Vonn has won the overall title four times in her career, but this season she’s just happy to be racing again after missing nearly two years of competition with injuries.
She blew out her right knee in a super-G at the 2013 world championships in Schladming, Austria, and then hurt the same knee again in her comeback, keeping her out of last year’s Sochi Olympics.
Vonn went nearly two years without a victory before winning a downhill in Lake Louise, Canada, in December.
"This year was up-and-down. I didn’t have a chance to get in a lot of training because of my injuries," Vonn said. "But when I have training and I have confidence, I ski like I did (here)."