Lindsey Vonn grabs 70th World Cup win with weekend sweep

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Lindsey Vonn completed a weekend sweep of races in Lake Louise, Alberta, and reached 70 career World Cup wins with a historically dominant super-G performance Sunday.

Vonn prevailed on her favorite course, where she’s now won 18 times in 41 starts, by 1.32 seconds. It’s the largest margin of victory in a women’s World Cup super-G anywhere since March 7, 1997, according to ski-db.com.

Austrians Tamara Tippler and Cornelia Huetter were second and third. Full results are here.

“I feel like there were some people that doubted whether I could win today, and especially because Lara [Gut] had won the last couple races here in super-G,” Vonn said, according to media in Lake Louise. “And also my technician made some bets with people, so I felt a little bit like I had to come through.”

Vonn, the 2010 Olympic downhill champion, also grabbed downhills Friday and Saturday in Lake Louise. She’s closer to the overall World Cup wins record of 86 held by retired Swede Ingemar Stenmark. Vonn also broke the record for most World Cup super-G wins with her 25th, passing retired Austrian Hermann Maier.

Vonn has swept the three weekend Lake Louise races three times in the last five seasons, though this three-peat was her first since season-ending knee surgeries in 2013 and 2014 that kept her from the Sochi Olympics.

Countrywoman Mikaela Shiffrin finished 15th, 2.29 seconds behind, in her World Cup speed event debut. She shrugged after her time came up in the finish area.

“Mission accomplished,” Shiffrin said, according to media in Lake Louise. “In the back of my head I was thinking, I’ll get points [top 30], but maybe a top 15. So by holding in 15th, that’s a really good day.

“First time on that hill ever, and I don’t ever want to leave,” said Shiffrin, who received a course report from Vonn before taking her run 17 minutes after Vonn. “I can see why Lindsey loves this place.”

Shiffrin, the Olympic slalom champion and World Cup giant slalom winner, ceded her World Cup overall standings lead to Vonn by four points. Vonn entered the weekend with zero World Cup points.

Shiffrin and Vonn are expected to have a close race for the overall title, the largest prize in the sport this season with no Olympics or World Championships.

The women’s World Cup season continues with a giant slalom and slalom in Are, Sweden, next weekend.

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Swim meet canceled after FINA’s threat to ban athletes

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GENEVA (AP) — Amid growing conflict between swimmers and their world governing body, an international swimming meet was canceled on Thursday after threats to ban athletes who took part seeking better prize money.

The Italian swim federation called off the Dec. 20-21 competition it was organizing in Turin, saying it acted to protect athletes from FINA.

The Turin meet was linked to a proposed International Swimming League, a privately run operation which aims to operate outside FINA’s control and pay higher prize money.

“FINA declared the event ‘non-approved,’ threatening sanctions against the participating athletes,” Italian officials said in a statement.

FINA, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Some Olympic champions have long criticized FINA, believing swimmers should be better rewarded, have more say in decisions, and could create their own union.

Olympic champion Adam Peaty of Britain wrote on Thursday on Twitter he was “incredibly disappointed” by the cancellation.

The politics involved will “galvanize swimmers, not break them,” wrote Peaty, who holds 50m and 100m breaststroke world records.

Peaty has previously supported Hungarian star Katinka Hosszu in her public criticism of FINA, and calls to create a swimmers’ union.

Italian organizers said Peaty, Hosszu and other Olympic champions including Chad le Clos of South Africa and Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden were due to take part in their 25-meter pool event. It was scheduled days after the short-course world championships being staged in Hangzhou, China.

The clash of events seemed to provoke FINA into finding more prize money for its worlds event in the smaller pool.

On Nov. 6, FINA added to its promised prize fund for China by almost doubling the total to $2.07 million.

FINA wrote to member federations on Oct. 30 warning of bans of up to two years for taking part in Turin.

However, a European Commission decision last year suggests swimmers could successfully challenge any attempt to limit their right to race and earn money.

The European Union’s executive arm ruled the International Staking Union in breach of anti-trust laws by threatening severe bans for speed skaters who wanted to compete in a South Korean-organized event in Dubai.

The ISU’s threats “also serve to protect its own commercial interests,” the European officials said.

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Simon Ammann believes ski jumping career end is near

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Simon Ammann, the most decorated active ski jumper with four Olympic gold medals, said it is hard to imagine competing beyond this season, according to Swiss newspaper Blick.

Ammann, 37, swept the individual Olympic titles in 2002 and 2010 to join retired Finn Matti Nykänen as the only four-time Olympic ski jumping champs.

In PyeongChang, his sixth Olympics, Ammann placed 11th and 13th, one month after making his first World Cup podium in nearly three years. He decided after those Winter Games that he would continue at least one more season, but has no plan to go all the way to a seventh Olympics in 2022, according to Blick.

Ammann has teased retirement since at least 2011 and even said going into the 2014 Sochi Olympics that he was “99 percent sure” they would be his final Games.

The now-father of two first gained crossover celebrity with his surprise Salt Lake City 2002 gold medals, his first wins in top-level international competition. The bespectacled Ammann’s victory screams and resemblance to Harry Potter helped land him on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and one of Europe’s biggest shows, sitting next to Shakira.

Fellow ski jumper Noriaki Kasai of Japan holds the Winter Olympic record of eight appearances. Kasai, 46, has said he plans to go for a ninth participation at Beijing 2022.

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

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