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Going, going ... Vonn: Skier hits another record blast

February 22, 2009 | 10:02 am


Lindsey Vonn skiing into the record books Sunday.  (Damien  Meyer / Getty Images) 

Now there is no doubt, statistical or otherwise, that Lindsey Vonn is the greatest female skier in U.S. history.

Sunday in Tarvisio, Italy, Vonn won the 19th World Cup race of her still-young career, moving ahead of Tamara McKinney as the all-time U.S. leader in that category.

"It sounds really weird to me,'' Vonn said.  "I don't see myself as a record setter and actually never thought it was possible to pass a legend like Tamara.''

The win in Super-G completed a stunning weekend for Vonn, 24, as she took a seemingly insurmountable lead in the race for a second straight World Cup overall title, the crown many skiers consider the pinnacle of their sport.

Vonn was second in both Friday's super combined and Saturday's downhill. Sunday's victory gave her 12 podium finishes this year, two more than last season, when she became the second U.S. woman -- after McKinney in 1983 -- to win the overall title.

With 43 such top-three finishes, she still trails McKinney by two in that category.

Vonn has been quick to put her achievements into modest perspective when she compares them to the leading skiers of all time, including Austria's Renate Goitschel, who has 46 wins and 109 podium finishes in what may be her final season on the circuit.

"I'm so proud of what I've been able to accomplish, and I look at what Goitschel has done, and it's humbling,''  Vonn said after winning her second gold medal at the world championships earlier this month.  "It's something that keeps you grounded.''

Since her first win in 2004, Vonn has triumphed in every World Cup discipline but giant slalom.  All McKinney's victories, from 1981 through 1987, came in giant slalom and slalom during an era when polyvalence was not as common in the sport.

--Philip Hersh