Lindsey Vonn won for the seventh time this season, the 66th time in her World Cup career, and clinched her record-tying seventh World Cup downhill season title in Meribel, France, on Wednesday.
“It’s incredible,” Vonn said shortly after receiving her 18th career crystal globe trophy across all disciplines at the World Cup Finals. “After being out for two years with two major knee operations was definitely hard. To come back this year to get the downhill title again and to have an amazing season means so much to me.
“This is probably the most meaningful globe I’ve ever won.”
Vonn beat the field by .24, raising her arms and screaming after she crossed the finish line and saluting the crowd, which included several “Lindsey We Love You” signs. Austrians Elisabeth Goergl and Nicole Hosp were second and third.
Vonn, in her comeback season after two major knee surgeries knocked her out of the Sochi Olympics, matched Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell‘s women’s record for number of World Cup season titles in one discipline.
“I was happy with just a few wins [this season], but to actually get a globe is more than I had hoped for,” Vonn told media in Meribel.
Vonn also moved within one of the record for total season titles across all disciplines and the overall. She can match Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark‘s 19 if she wins the super-G on Thursday.
“Another day, another opportunity,” Vonn said.
Vonn, 30, won six straight downhill season titles from 2008 through 2013 before missing most of last season due to her knee injuries.
She entered Wednesday with a 35-point lead over Anna Fenninger in the downhill season standings, after seven of eight races. Fenninger skied before Vonn on Wednesday and crossed the finish line in fourth place. That meant all Vonn needed was to finish 15th to wrap up the season title.
Vonn goes into Thursday’s super-G with an eight-point lead on Fenninger. If both Vonn and Fenninger finish in the top four, whoever has the higher finish will take that crystal globe.
In this year’s overall title standings, Tina Maze moved to within 12 points of leader and defending champion Fenninger with three races remaining. Maze finished fourth Wednesday; Fenninger eighth.
Earlier Wednesday, Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud won the men’s downhill and clinched the season title, adding to his super-G crown. Steven Nyman was the top American in fourth.
Jansrud moved to 64 points behind Austrian Marcel Hirscher for the overall title and could move into the lead after Thursday’s super-G. Hirscher’s best events — giant slalom and slalom — are Saturday and Sunday.