Vonn claims race, finds herself in unwanted spat

AP, ST MORITZ, Switzerland

Sun, Dec 09, 2012 - Page 20

Lindsey Vonn skied to victory in a women’s World Cup Super-G yesterday and found herself in an unwitting and unwanted spat with her main rival Tina Maze.

Vonn extended her perfect record in four speed races this season, finishing in 1 minute, 2.71 seconds to beat World Cup overall leader Maze by 0.37 seconds. Julia Mancuso of the US was third, 1.01 behind Vonn.

Yet talk soon centered on what Maze’s coaches alleged Vonn said as she celebrated after crossing the line.

The 28-year-old American acknowledged that she used a curse word in a release of emotion at taking the lead — but had not directed it at Maze.

“They think I said something very bad about her when I came to the finish and that is absolutely not true,” Vonn said. “I swore and I shouldn’t have done that.”

Vonn spoke after seeking out Maze, and said she had told her: “I hope you trust me enough to believe me.”

“Apparently they don’t. It definitely hurts,” Vonn said. “I would never say anything bad about another athlete at the finish.”

International Ski Federation spokeswoman Riikka Rakic said that the race jury studied footage of Vonn’s post-race reactions and found nothing wrong.

Vonn said she had been disappointed with her skiing when failing to finish Friday’s super-combined, which was won by Maze.

Maze’s victory a day earlier had put some pressure on Vonn, who has been affected by illness and allowed a gap to develop in the standings. She scored 100 points for the victory and trails Maze by 167.