Lindsey Vonn secures a record fifth downhill skiing title
Lindsey Vonn clinched her fifth consecutive women's World Cup downhill title, despite finishing third in Russia's new Rosa Khutor resort.
Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch won in one minute 49.17 seconds, beating Austria's Elisabeth Goergl by 0.43 secs.
But Vonn's 231-point lead over the German in the downhill standings is now unassailable with two races left.
"It means a lot. Getting this out of the way means one less target to achieve," said Minnesota-born Vonn.
The 27-year-old was disappointed to seal her fifth title in a relatively low-key fashion, blaming the decision to change her equipment for finishing 0.59 secs behind the pace in Saturday's race on the new piste created in preparation for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
LINDSEY VONN FACTFILE
- 2000: World Cup debut aged 16 in Park City, Utah
- 2002: Competes at the Winter Olympics in Utah aged 17 in downhill and combined
- 2004: Claims her first World Cup race win at Lake Louise, Alberta
- 2008: Wins her first World Cup title, becoming only the second American woman to lift the trophy
- 2009: Wins World Championships in Val-d'Isère, France, and became the first American to win women's world Super-G title
- 2010: Wins downhill gold at the Vancouver Winter Olympics
"I would have loved to win, but that's skiing. No matter how hard you try, you can't have everything," added Vonn, who faces arch-rival Hoefl-Riesch again in today's super-combined race, which involves downhill and slalom racing.
"I have achieved the main objective and that is to win the downhill globe.
"Now I can focus on the overall and, even more so, if I clinch the super-combined on Sunday.
"The downhill is my favourite discipline but I may have paid heavily for changing my equipment for this race, having had the same skis for the downhill all season. It was perhaps an error on my part."
Hoefl-Riesch, the reigning overall World Cup champion, was delighted with her first downhill victory since winning at the Italian resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo in January 2011.
"I had to look twice at the leaderboard to be absolutely sure I had won," said the 27-year-old German. "Lindsey is so dominant in super-G and downhill that everyone was expecting her to win."
Despite finishing third, Vonn also took another step towards her fourth overall World Cup title as she now holds a 448-point lead over Tina Maze, of Slovenia, with a month of the season left.
Maze still appeared to be shaken by her collision with a cameraman at the finishing line during Friday's training run and could only finish 12th.