Weirather takes race, super-G title at World Cup Finals
ASPEN, Colo. (AP) — Dad has a crystal globe. Mom has several of them. Now Tina Weirather has one, too.
It will sure look nice in the family trophy case — once they assemble it again.
Weirather turned in a smooth run to win a super-G race Thursday at World Cup Finals and overtake Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia for the season-long discipline crown.
Trailing Stuhec by 15 points in the standings, Weirather of Liechtenstein held nothing back and finished in 1 minute, 11.66 seconds. Two racers later, Stuhec wasn’t as clean and wound up second, 0.35 seconds behind. Federica Brignone of Italy took third.
“I was talking to (Stuhec) in the start. I was like, “let’s have ... a fair fight,’” Weirather said. “I think it was. It was fair. It was good. I was the lucky one today.”
The challenging course resulted in several big crashes, including American Lindsey Vonn hitting a panel and sliding down before going into the safety nets. She eventually skied to the finish and waved to the crowd.
Weirather captured her first overall discipline title by five points over Stuhec as she added to the family’s haul. Her mother, Hanni Wenzel, won numerous crystal globes, while her father, Harti Weirather, earned one. They become the first parent/child combination to win crystal globes, according to information provided by the International Ski Federation.
“What does that mean for me? I don’t think it’s different to any other athlete that wins a globe,” said Weirather, who hasn’t seen all the family’s trophies displayed since they moved. “It’s a long time ago that they won theirs.”
The season-long super-G title means all the more to Weirather because of her injury-riddled past. Weirather won her first career championship medal — in the super-G — at worlds last month after not racing in the past two Olympics because of injuries. She figures to be a big factor at the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea.
“It’s hard when the doctors tell you that you might not be able to do this anymore,” Weirather said. “I fought through it and I’m really proud of it. It’s days like today that are the best reward you can get.”
Stuhec’s flickering overall title hopes remained mathematically afloat. She trails Mikaela Shiffrin by 198 points with two races left. Stuhec would need to win both events and have Shiffrin score virtually no points. Shiffrin is oh-so close to joining esteemed company in Phil Mahre, Tamara McKinney, Bode Miller and Vonn as the only Americans to win the overall crown.
It’s been quite a season for Stuhec, who wrapped up the downhill title Wednesday, with her mom waxing and taking care of her skis.
On a warm day, quite a few racers struggled to hold their tight lines. Italian skiers Johanna Schnarf and Sofia Goggia both went sliding down the hill. Later, Vonn crashed and then teammate Laurenne Ross went down in a similar spot.
“I think I released the ski a little bit too early,” Vonn said. “Once I realized I didn’t have enough direction, I tried to really hammer on it. I didn’t really have the strength and power to make it back. I almost had it, but I didn’t.”
Vonn is already plotting her course for the Olympics — and beyond.
This has been a difficult season for Vonn, who fractured her upper right arm during a training fall in November. It led to surgery and nerve damage so severe that she couldn’t move her fingers. She still has a difficult time pushing out of the start gate with her ski pole.
Bouncing back, she earned World Cup win No. 77 in January. She’s trying to break the record held by Ingemar Stenmark, the Swedish standout who earned 86 World Cup wins.
“I think all things considered it was a respectable season and I’m coming out of it in one piece,” said Vonn, who was dealing with a cold this week. “Next year, I’m really going to focus on the Olympics.
“I’ve decided to ski another year past the Olympics so I can focus on the Olympics next year and then the World Cup wins record after that, so I don’t have too much pressure on myself next season.”