Here’s a measure of Lindsey Vonn’s strength in the downhill: She no longer bothers to celebrate the season-long championship.
She won the downhill crown for the fourth consecutive year by finishing second to Sweden’s Anja Paerson yesterday at Tarvisio, Italy.
A day earlier, Vonn clinched her second straight super-combined title. She now has 11 World Cup championships for her career, with another possibly on the way in today’s super-G.
This latest title hardly prompted a ski-dancing display in the snow, as was the case last Saturday. Instead, Vonn appeared upset when she crossed the line a distant 0.73 seconds behind. Still, she wasn’t about to take this milestone for granted, especially in a season in which she left the World Championships because of the lingering effects of a concussion.
“You can never expect any titles,’’ she said. “Nothing is given to you and you have to fight for every point and every place, and this year I wasn’t able to win as many times as last year, so it definitely wasn’t easy.’’
Elisabeth Goergl, who won gold in the super-G and downhill at last month’s Worlds, finished 1.17 back in third. Tina Maze, Friday’s super-combined winner, was fourth on a sunny, cool day and on a shortened course because of curtailed training on the upper section.
Vonn’s runner-up finish gave her an insurmountable 143-point lead in the downhill standings over German rival Maria Riesch, who finished sixth but remains the overall leader.
Vonn and Riesch have both won three downhills this season, with Paerson the only other woman to win in the discipline. Last season, Vonn won six of eight downhills. Still, only Austrians Annemarie Moser-Proell (seven) and Renate Goetschl (five) have won more downhill titles.
“It’s an incredible achievement,’’ US coach Alex Hoedlmoser said. “To be consistent is what those titles show — always being on the top in downhill for four years now. It’s very, very impressive and she can be really proud about that.’’
This was Paerson’s first victory in a season hampered by knee problems. Last weekend in Are, Sweden, she pulled up short because of knee pain.
“I was so bummed with the knee, and I didn’t know if I could race here,’’ she said. “It’s always frustrating when you know how fast you can ski and what you can do, and then you do those small mistakes all the time.’’
Men’s giant slalom — Olympic champion Carlo Janka of Switzerland won a World Cup race at Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, 10 days after having surgery to correct an irregular heartbeat.
The defending overall champion was second after the opening leg and finished in a combined time of 2:27.05 for his first victory of the season.
World GS champion Ted Ligety of the US was 0.12 back in third.
Freestyle — Therese Johaug beat fellow Norwegian Marit Bjoergen to take gold in the women’s 30-kilometer at the Nordic skiing world championships at Oslo.
Luge — At Lake Placid, N.Y., Erin Hamlin (women) won her fourth straight US national championship, while Chris Mazdzer (men) won his second in a row.