After a week of warm, wet weather in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, the women’s overall title came down to three points and two canceled races.
Germany’s Maria Riesch led American Lindsey Vonn for much of the season, though they did pass the lead back and forth. This week of World Cup Finals was to be an epic duel between the two. Vonn overcame a 200 point deficit to arrive only 23 points behind Riesch at the beginning of this week of competition.
Vonn then earned 50 points from her Downhill performance, leading Riesch by 27 points on Wednesday, while her rival failed to earn any points, landing devastated in 17th place.
Not to be outdone, Riesch struck back in the Slalom on Friday, gleaning a narrow margin of 3 points over Vonn—otherwise known as .02 seconds.
I mean… seriously. Ser-i-ous-ly.
With the Super G canceled on Thursday, the world of ladies Alpine skiing was to come down to a final head-to-head duel in Saturday’s Giant Slalom.
The weather would not have it. Warm, wet, foggy:
“It is basically the same situation that we saw yesterday for the men’s race,” said FIS women’s World Cup race director Atle Skaardal. “There is a crust on top of the snow and nothing underneath. It’s impossible to ski on such a soft crust. The situation is not skiable for a GS race.” (FIS)
Riesch apparently found out about the cancellation as she was leaving for the slopes:
“I was in front of the hotel. Some people at the balcony said, ‘Yeah, it’s officially canceled.’ I didn’t believe at first,” she said. “We were crying, full of happiness” (Universal Sports).
Three. Points. 1,728-1725.
Vonn of course was “devastated” not to have had a chance to defend the overall World Cup title she has held for three straight years, noting of course that Riesch is one of her best friends and “had an outstanding season and again proved to be my biggest competitor. She’s worked really hard for this. I’m happy for her” (Universal Sports).
Still, ending the season that way, winner or loser is kind of a bummer. Oh well.
At least Riesch has that massive crystal globe to cheer her up, and Vonn still has three sitting at home, plus three new [smaller] trophies for the three discipline wins she collected this week.