Oakley Alpine Skiers Aksel Lund Svindal and Lindsey Vonn Secure World Cup Season Titles
Aksel Lund Svindal and Lindsey Vonn are no strangers to Audi FIS Alpine World Cup season titles, but 2012-2013 has been remarkable in its own right for these two. A few deciding races, late in the season, were to be held in Lezerheide, Switzerland on Wednesday, however the weather had other plans. After numerous delays, Wednesday’s scheduled events were canceled due to fog. While many would be disappointed with the result, this meant that both Svindal and Vonn would claim season titles, in multiple disciplines, based on final point standings. The Norwegian, Svindal claimed the downhill and Super G World Cup titles, bringing his career title count to an impressive nine. While Svindal’s story is remarkable in itself, it is Vonn’s season that is grabbing headlines across the globe. Just five short weeks after a devastating season-ending knee injury, Vonn still had enough season points to retain the overall downhill title. Vonn beat Slovenia’s Tina Maze by a single point.
Svindal entered Wednesday’s cancelled downhill race with a 58-point lead over 2012 champion Klaus Kroell of Austria. While Svindal possesses many season titles, this was the first overall downhill championship of his career. Svindal had also previously wrapped up the season title in the Super-G discipline, with his second place finish in Kvitfjel. The only disappointing factor of the race cancellation Wednesday is the implication for the “large globe,” or the overall combined World Cup title. Current season leader, Austria’s Marcel Hirsche stands 149 points ahead of Svindal. Hirsche does not participate in the downhill discipline, where Svindal could have potentially made up some valuable ground with Wednesday’s race. However, Thursday’s Super-G race is still a go, where both athletes will look to compete with one another for the overall season crown.
“I have mixed feeling about today,” Svindal said. “I’m of course happy to have clinched my first downhill globe but also sorry to have lost a great chance to score big points for the overall title. The jury took the right decision. The racing conditions were really bad with that fog,”
Over on the women’s side, alpine ski legend, Lindsey Vonn was anxiously following the action in Switzerland from her home in the US where she is rehabbing a brutal knee injury she suffered just five weeks prior. Vonn and Lenzerheide already have an interesting past. In 2011, weather caused the races in Switzerland to be cancelled, denying Vonn her fourth consecutive overall title. Well, the weather paid Vonn some major karma points today as the abandoned race ensured Vonn her sixth straight World Cup downhill title, leaving her just one point ahead of a trailing Tina Maze. Vonn also ended the giant slalom season race just three points behind her close friend Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany, for second place.
While Vonn’s unfortunate injury halted her pursuit of legendary Austrian athlete Annemarie Moser-Proell’s record of 62 career World Cup race wins, this most recent season title was the 28-year-old American’s record 17th season victory, moving her past another one of Moser-Proell’s milestones. Vonn’s dual wins in Lake Louise, Alberta and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, in January were enough to stamp her name in the record books once again.
Elated, Vonn took to her Facebook page to express her excitement:
“I won the World Cup Downhill title!!!!! 6 in a row with a bum knee! Everything in life comes back around. #believe #karma #onelegvictorydance #sochi2014”
Both Vonn and Svindal continue to impress the world with their Audi FIS Alpine Ski performances, not to mention their record-breaking season titles. It’s going to be an exciting year leading up to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia with these two riding such extraordinary hot streaks.