Exciting Alpine finals in Garmisch-Partenkirchen - large globes for Vonn and Janka
For seven of the twelve season standings, the winners of the crystal globes were still outstanding as this Alpine ski season reached its climactic conclusion at the Audi FIS World Cup Finals in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER) last week.
Besides the downhill globes, which went to Lindsey Vonn (USA) and Didier Cuche (SUI) and the super combined ones, which also went to Lindsey Vonn (USA) and Benjamin Raich (AUT), Vonn had confirmed her second consecutive super-G title before the last competitions of the season in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
In addition to five globes she has won in previous seasons, Vonn showed commanding form earning four more in 2009/10, a new record in a season. Her collection of nine globes includes a third consecutive large globe for the overall title, along with three small ones for downhill, two for super-G and one for super combined. In doing so, Vonn became the first US female to win three consecutive overall World Cup titles. With 33 career wins, she has surpassed Bode Miller's record as the top American FIS World Cup alpine racer of all time along with a sleuth of other records she set during her truly magical season.
In the ladies' technical events, Maria Riesch (GER) won the final slalom in her home town and her second consecutive slalom title. It was a well deserved title win, after Riesch had finished in the top five in every slalom race this season that included three podiums and one win (as well as Olympic gold) except for a 14th-place finish in Lienz. She just edged Kathrin Zettel (AUT) for her second straight slalom globe with 493-490 points. In the ladies giant slalom, Germany's Kathrin Hoelzl attacked until the end to win her first giant slalom trophy with 471 points ahead of Kathrin Zettel (AUT) who had to be satisfied with another runner-up medal after collecting 394 points.
The men's slalom title went to Reinfried Herbst (AUT), his first one, and one of the only two individual crystal globes the Alpine powerhouse Austria collected this season. The Austrian had a lead of 43 points over France's Julien Lizeroux, who had set the early season pace. In the end, Herbst won by 22 points ahead of Lizeroux who put up an exciting fight by throwing down a sensational second run in the final slalom in Garmisch.
Erik Guay (CAN) was a surprise winner of the men's super-G title and in doing so became the first Canadian title winner since Steve Podborski tied for the downhill title in 1982. In an unlikely scenario, Guay won the final super-G moving past two skiers, Michael Walchhofer of Austria and Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway, while he needed Walchhofer to finish worse than eighth.
In the final men's giant slalom, Ted Ligety (USA) finished in a tie for third in the final GS of the season at Garmisch to capture his second giant slalom title after 2008. Things got easier for Ligety after his top two competitors had taken themselves out by the end of the first run, with Marcel Hirscher being disqualified for an early start and Massimiliano Blardone skiing way off course to finish dead last in first run.
Holding a 46-point lead in the World Cup overall standings over Switzerland's Carlo Janka, most would have probably bet on veteran Raich to become the 2010 overall World Cup champion. However, after three consecutive seasons of finishing second with very narrow defeats in 2007 and 2009, Raich had to once again settle for second. Janka won the final giant slalom giving him a 106 point lead over Raich with just the slalom finale remaining. Janka's overall title was the first for a Swiss male since Paul Accola won it in 1992.
Audi FIS Alpine World Cup 2009/2010 champions
Overall ladies: Lindsey Vonn (USA)
Overall men: Carlo Janka (SUI)
Slalom ladies: Maria Riesch (GER)
Slalom men: Reinfried Herbst (AUT)
Giant slalom ladies: Kathrin Hölzl (GER)
Giant slalom men: Ted Ligety (USA)
Super-G ladies: Lindsey Vonn (USA)
Super-G men: Erik Guay (CAN)
Downhill ladies: Lindsey Vonn (USA)
Downhill men: Didier Cuche (SUI)
Super combined ladies: Lindsey Vonn (USA)
Super combined men: Benjamin Raich (AUT)
Nations' Cup: Austria (ladies: AUT/men: AUT)