Vonn sets record with 8th place slalom finish
Lindsey Vonn set a women's record for the most World Cup points in a single season after finishing eighth in Saturday's slalom. The race was won by Michaela Kirchgasser of Austria.
Vonn reached 1,980 points to beat the previous best mark of 1,970 set by Janica Kostelic of Croatia in 2006.
"I am very happy with that," said the American overall champion, who needs 21 points in Sunday's giant slalom to also overtake Austrian great Hermann Maier's 12-year-old record of 2,000 points. "I am really excited, I do care about Janica's record as well."
Marie-Michele Gagnon of Lac-Etchemin, Que., was sixth, a week after claiming her first World Cup podium — a bronze medal inSweden. She finishes the season ranked 10th in the world in slalom.
"This is above expectations for me," said Gagnon. "I was hoping to be top 15 in one discipline this year and to be in the top 10 is great. I'm really confident I will [be better] in the giant slalom next year as well."
Kirchgasser claimed the gold in a two-run combined time of one minute 32.57 seconds. Gagnon finished in 1:33.55 seconds.
"It's great confirmation, one good race after the other," said Canadian coach Hugues Ansermoz. "[Gagnon] had a little mistake on the first run. Second run was a great run — also with a little mistake — but she is again close to the podium. It's such an incredible end to the season for Mitch."
Erin Mielzynski of Quelph, Ont., gold medallist in a World Cup slalom earlier this month, went out in her first run Saturday.
"I felt ready to race today," Mielzynski said. "I've been training quite well. At the start I felt good and next thing I know, I'm on the ground."
Vonn, meanwhile, will need to finish 12th or better to overtake Maier while placing 13th would see her matching the Austrian's record.
"I hope I can do it tomorrow. I will fully attack," she said. "I am going to take risks but I will also ski smart."
The American said it was her goal to get a few points from the slalom — her weakest discipline — in order to make Sunday's task a little bit less difficult.
"Slalom has been a struggle for me in the last couple of years," she said. "I've got a couple of top-10s this season but have not been finishing very often so it was good step for me."
After a clear, cold night, the sunny and warm weather softened the snow and made for difficult conditions.
"It was definitely really warm for the second run," Vonn said. "It was tough. I personally don't do well with really soft conditions. I struggled a little bit and maybe didn't ski as aggressively as I could have done. But I had two solid runs without major
Vonn is also an outside contender for the GS title. She has to win the race and leader Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany must fail to score points.
In that case, Vonn would win her record fifth crystal globe of the season after the overall championship and the downhill, super-G and super-combined titles.
"I've got a minor chance," said Vonn, who won her first GS race this season. "I will give everything and hope to make the podium."
Marlies Schild of Austria, who finished third, had already secured the slalom World Cup title. She won six slalom races this season and 33 overall, leaving her one short of Swiss great Vreni Schneider's record.
"I hoped to get that 34th victory today," the world slalom champion said. "But finishing third was OK and there is always something you can do better next season."
Veronika Zuzulova of Slovakia, who led after the first run, came second, 0.12 behind. Zuzulova has now been 13 times on a World Cup podium without winning a race, more than any other female skier.