Austrian Anna Fenninger prevailed in one of the closest overall title races in women’s World Cup history, winning the World Cup Finals giant slalom in foggy Meribel, France, on Sunday.
Fenninger edged Tina Maze in the season-long standings by 22 points to repeat as World Cup overall champion. It’s the smallest margin of victory since Maria Hoefl-Riesch beat Lindsey Vonn by three points in 2011.
Fenninger came into Sunday’s finale trailing Maze by 18 points. She scored 100 points for her race victory, while Maze was third for 60 points. Fenninger totaled 1,553 points. Maze had 1,531.
“It’s hard to describe because there was so much pressure for so many days, so many weeks,” said Fenninger, who skied last because she was fastest in the first of two runs (by .27 over Maze) earlier Sunday. “I was so nervous before the run. When I came to the finish and saw the green light [indicating victory], it was incredible, unbelievable. I am so thankful to live my dream.”
Lindsey Vonn finished fifth Sunday and ended up third in the overall standings in her comeback season following two major knee surgeries. Her goal next season is to win a fifth World Cup overall title.
“My goal next year is to be top five in as many races as I can in giant slalom and be more consistent in super-G and downhill,” Vonn told media in Meribel. “I won a lot of races this year, but I was also a few times 10th and seventh.”
Mikaela Shiffrin finished seventh Sunday, fourth in the overall standings and third in the giant slalom standings. The three-time World Cup slalom champion has improved in giant slalom from 49th to 19th to seventh the previous three seasons. She hopes to challenge for the World Cup giant slalom title next season and perhaps make her World Cup debut in super-G.
Vonn and Shiffrin will next head to the U.S. Alpine Championships in Sugarloaf, Maine, this week. Vonn will forerun, and Shiffrin will race.