Anna Fenninger

Anna Fenninger clinches World Cup overall title

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Austrian Anna Fenninger wrapped up her first World Cup overall title by finishing second in the World Cup Finals super-G in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, on Thursday.

Swiss Lara Gut delighted the flag-waving home crowd by winning the race and securing the super-G season title.

Gut crossed in 1 minute, 17.14 seconds. Fenninger was .61 behind, followed by last season’s overall champion, Tina Maze, at .95 back.

Fenninger, 24, is the youngest women’s World Cup overall winner since Lindsey Vonn won the second of her four titles in 2009.

She is also the first Austrian women’s winner since Nicole Hosp in 2007.

With countryman Marcel Hirscher likely to win the men’s title, it sets Austria up to be the first nation to sweep the men’s and women’s overall crystal globes since 2002.

Then, it was also Austria accomplishing the feat with Stephan Eberharter and Michaela Dorfmeister.

Fenninger, the Olympic super-G champion and giant slalom silver medalist, has been on a tear to close the season. She recorded her fourth podium finish in five starts since the Olympics on Thursday.

She overtook German Maria Hoefl-Riesch in overall points in Wednesday’s downhill after Hoefl-Riesch crashed and had to be helicoptered off the course. Hoefl-Riesch will not enter the final two races Saturday and Sunday.

It’s possible Hoefl-Riesch, 29, will retire after this season. Maze is 30. Vonn is 29 and coming off major surgery. The door may be open for Fenninger to be the overall star for years to come, though Mikaela Shiffrin may have something to say once she adds speed events.

Lenzerheide super-G
1. Lara Gut (SUI) 1:17.14
2. Anna Fenninger (AUT) 1:17.75
3. Tina Maze (SLO) 1:18.09
4. Nicole Schmidhofer (AUT) 1:18.22
5. Regina Sterz (AUT) 1:18.59
6. Nadia Fanchini (ITA) 1:18.73
7. Comelia Huetter (AUT) 1:19.00
8. Viktoria Rebensburg (GER) 1:19.21
9. Kajsa Kling (SWE) 1:19.22
10. Julia Mancuso (USA) 1:19.34
11. Stacey Cook (USA) 1:19.54

Final super-G standings
1. Lara Gut (SUI) — 448
2. Anna Fenninger (AUT) — 357
3. Tina Weirather (LIE) — 310
15. Julia Mancuso (USA) — 104
15. Stacey Cook (USA) — 104

Bode Miller makes super-G podium; Svindal concedes

Tommy Ford ends U.S. men’s World Cup drought at Beaver Creek

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Tommy Ford earned his first World Cup win at age 30 and ended the U.S. men’s longest victory and podium droughts in two decades.

Ford won the giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Sunday, the last North American race on tour this season. He prevailed by eight tenths of a second combining times over two runs.

Full results are here.

Ford became the first U.S. man to win a World Cup since Travis Ganong took a downhill on Jan. 27, 2017. He also became the first U.S. male podium finisher since Ted Ligety in January 2018. Both were the longest droughts for the program since the late 1990s.

Ford, a 2010 and 2018 Olympian who missed the 2014 Olympics due to a broken femur, had been working toward this moment. He finished a World Cup career-high fourth at the season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 27. Last season, he had a pair of top-five results.

The men’s World Cup moves to Val d’Isere, France, next weekend for a giant slalom and slalom.

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Katie Ledecky wins race by 30 seconds, takes back No. 1 ranking

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In her last race of the year, Katie Ledecky ensured she would finish 2019 as the world’s fastest 1500m freestyler.

Ledecky clocked 15:35.98 at the U.S. Open in Atlanta, winning the longest event on the Olympic pool program by 29.97 seconds. Typical for Ledecky, who owns the nine fastest times in history. This one came in at No. 8. Full meet results are here.

Ledecky scratched the 1500m free final at the summer world championships due to illness. Italian Simona Quadarella went on to win that title in 15:40.89, which was the world’s fastest time this year until Saturday night.

“I didn’t have time on my mind at all today. I just wanted to have a consistent swim,” Ledecky, undefeated in 1500m free finals for nine years, said on NBCSN. “That’s probably the best mile that I’ve had in a while.”

The women’s 1500m freestyle debuts at the Olympics in Tokyo. Ledecky is expected to add that to her Rio Olympic individual lineup of 200m, 400m and 800m frees, assuming she is top two in each event at the June Olympic trials.

In other events Saturday, Erika Brown handed Simone Manuel a rare defeat in the 100m freestyle. Brown, a University of Tennessee senior, clocked 53.42 and lowered her personal best by .71 between prelims and the final. Brown moved from sixth to fourth in the U.S. rankings this year, upping her stock as a contender to make the Olympic 4x100m free relay pool via a top-six finish at trials.

Brown previously lowered her personal best in the 50m free on Thursday. She ranks third in the U.S. this year in that event.

Emily Escobedo dealt Lilly King a rare domestic defeat in the 200m breaststroke. Escobedo lowered her personal best by .87 and clocked 2:22.00, moving to seventh fastest in the world this year and remaining fourth among Americans.

In the men’s 200m breast, Olympic champion Dmitriy Balandin of Kazakhstan was beaten by Cody Miller, the Olympic 100m breast silver medalist. Both were slower than their best times this year.

The next significant swim meet is a Tyr Pro Series stop in Knoxville, Tenn., from Jan. 16-19.

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