American ski queen Lindsey Vonn said she was delighted to have claimed her 50th World Cup career victory in yesterday’s downhill race in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
The Olympic champion recovered from a slow start and was the fastest down the course in a time of 1 minute, 44.86 seconds with Switzerland’s Nadja Kamer second, 0.41 seconds adrift, and Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather claiming third, 0.79 seconds behind.
Kamer, who was third down the course, was the early pacesetter, but the 27-year-old Vonn produced an impressive race to better the Swiss’ time to claim her half-century of World Cup race victories.
Victory also extended Vonn’s runaway lead at the top of the World Cup standings to give her a total of 1,350 points, 482 points more than second-placed Tina Maze of Slovenia.
It was Vonn’s 25th downhill victory to put her second behind Austrian star Annemarie Moser-Proell’s record of 36, who claimed 62 World Cup wins during the 1970s before she retired in 1980.
The American made a slow start down the Kandahar piste and at one point was 0.62 seconds behind Kamer’s time, a slight slip looking to have cost her even more.
However, the downhill champion saved her best for last with a sensational display on the bottom half of the course to take the perfect line and glide into first place.
“It’s crazy, I am at a loss for words,” Vonn said. “I already cried with one of the TV crews and that’s enough crying for the day. Fifty World Cup wins is a huge mark for me in my career and more than I even thought possible.”
“I am just so happy, every win is special, but 50 is a huge mark,” she said. “[Retired Italian slalom expert] Alberto Tomba has 50 ski wins and he is one of the best skiers of all time, I don’t see myself in that way, but to see what I have accomplished so much to this point is amazing.”
Vonn said she was pleased to have recovered after her slip.
“That wasn’t part of the plan, I hit a bump and lost the inside edge of my ski and went onto my hip,” she said. “From that point until the finish I skied well and was able to make up some time.”
Liechtenstein’s Weirather skied herself into contention with an impressive display and was just off Vonn’s time throughout her run.
Last season’s overall World Cup winner Maria Hoefl-Riesch, skiing down her home course, bettered Vonn’s time at the start of the course, but the German ended up in fourth place, 0.99 seconds back.
The race was run in unusually cold conditions with minus-25?C recorded at the start and minus-22?C at the finish.