World Cup Alpine racing: Vonn, Ligety take crystal globes | SierraSun.com

World Cup Alpine racing: Vonn, Ligety take crystal globes

U.S. Ski Team report

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany and#8212; Lindsey Vonn and Ted Ligety capped an outstanding season by U.S. skiers by earning some of the most prestigious awards in Alpine skiing and#8212; Audi FIS World Cup titles.

Vonn took the overall crown plus three other titles, while Ligety won his second giant slalom title in three years.

Vonn won three discipline titles, in downhill, super G and super combined to become the first American to win three discipline titles in the same season. She also became the first woman to win three straight overall titles since Petra Kronberger of Austria from 1990-’92.

“It’s so important to me. The overall title is one of the biggest things you can win in our sport,” Vonn said. “I always try to give my best every day, but it’s a long season. The last few years have gone really well for me. It’s so hard to say whether you’ll be able to win the overall title. To stand here in the finish and have a title in my hand is so rewarding.”

Only three other women have as many overall titles as Vonn and#8212; Vreni Schneider of Switzerland and Janica Kostelic of Croatia have three each and Annemarie Moser-Proell of Austria leads all with six.

Vonn also broke records this season with her 11 World Cup wins. She now holds the U.S. record for World Cup wins with 33, passing Bode Miller.

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Only one skier in the world ever had more World Cup wins in a season and#8212; Schneider with 14 in the 1988-89 season. Moser-Proell and Anja Paerson of Sweden also have 11 in a year.

Finally, Vonn’s career wins put her in a tie for sixth place on the all-time list with Hanni Wenzel of Liechtenstein. Moser-Proell leads that list with 62.

“It means the world to me. If you had asked me at the beginning of the season if I’d have been able to do that, I would have said ‘not likely.’ It takes a lot of hard work, not only by me, but from the team, from U.S. Ski Team coaches, from my husband, from Red Bull and my ski company, Head,” Vonn said. “It’s everyone working together to make as successful a season as possible and I couldn’t do it without them.”

Ligety brought the U.S. its only crystal globe in the men’s World Cup to mark his career second giant slalom title after winning his first in 2008.

With his success, Ligety joins Phil Mahre as the only American man to have two World Cup giant slalom titles. He earned the honor with four podiums in discipline this season, including one win. He also notched his first podium in super G with second at Val d’Isere in December.

“Having two globes is awesome,” Ligety said. “It’s cool to have those and to be the best in giant slalom over the last couple of years is nice.”

Ligety also podiumed at first and last World Cup GS races, as well as won in Kranjska Gora for the third straight year.

The success of the team didn’t stop with World Cup titles, though, as the U.S. pulled in Olympic medals. On the women’s side, Vonn took a win in the downhill and bronze in the super G. Teammate Julia Mancuso of Olympic Valley racked in two silver medals in the downhill and super combined.

On the men’s side, Miller took in the trifecta of Olympic medals with a bronze in downhill, silver in super G and gold in the super combined. Miller was joined on the super G podium by Andrew Weibrecht, who took the bronze.

With the season now closed, the alpine team will return to the U.S. to train this summer in preparation for the 2011 World Cup season opener in Soelden, Austria and the 2011 World Championships in Garmisch Partenkirchen, Germany.