World Cup Finals

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Lindsey Vonn eyes more hardware, history at World Cup Finals

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Lindsey Vonn can break another age record and move closer to the last goal of her career on Wednesday. To do it, she must go through the Olympic downhill champion.

The international Alpine skiing season ends with the World Cup Finals in Are, Sweden, to decide the remaining competitions for season-long titles in each discipline.

The women race a downhill on Wednesday (7 a.m. ET, Olympic Channel and streaming on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers), a super-G on Thursday, a slalom on Saturday and a giant slalom on Sunday.

Mikaela Shiffrin already clinched the overall and slalom titles, but Vonn has work left for the downhill crown.

The 33-year-old trails PyeongChang gold medalist Sofia Goggia of Italy by 23 points combining results from the seven downhills contested so far this World Cup season. Goggia will clinch the season title if she finishes first or second on Wednesday.

Vonn will clinch a record-extending ninth downhill crystal globe if she wins and Goggia is third or worse, if she is second and Goggia is fourth or worse or if she is third and Goggia is seventh or worse.

Vonn is tied with retired Swede Ingemar Stenmark for the most season titles in a single discipline. Stenmark won eight slalom and eight giant slalom titles between the 1970s and 1980s.

Vonn captured eight of the last 10 downhill season titles. In the two years she didn’t win, she missed significant time due to injuries. This season, Vonn has started every World Cup downhill.

A ninth downhill title would also make Vonn the oldest woman to capture a crystal globe. That record is currently held by Austrian Michaela Dorfmeister.

The number that matters most to Vonn is 86 — Stenmark’s record total of World Cup victories. Vonn, by taking the last three World Cup downhill races before the Olympics, is now at 81 wins. She could get two more in Wednesday’s downhill and Thursday’s super-G (though she isn’t in the running for the super-G season title).

Even if she doesn’t, Vonn stands a great chance to catch Stenmark in the 2018-19 season, which could be her last before retirement. Vonn averaged five wins per season in this Olympic cycle despite missing significant time due to injuries.

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MORE: Lindsey Vonn’s Olympic legacy

Anna Fenninger wins World Cup overall title in tight finish

Anna Fenninger
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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.

Marcel Hirscher takes unprecedented men’s World Cup overall title

Marcel Hirscher earns unprecedented fourth straight World Cup overall title

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Marcel Hirscher did something no men’s skier has ever done, clinching a fourth straight World Cup overall title Saturday.

The 26-year-old Austrian finished fourth in the World Cup Finals giant slalom in Meribel, France, increasing his overall standings lead to 60 points over Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud.

Jansrud opted not to enter the season-ending slalom in Meribel on Sunday, which clinches the overall title for Hirscher.

Jansrud, the downhill and super-G season champion, has not finished a slalom race since 2011 and had a microscopic chance of overtaking Hirscher if he raced Sunday.

Next season, Hirscher will try to match Luxembourg’s Marc Girardelli‘s men’s record of five total World Cup overall titles.

Hirscher will have to contend with the return of Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal, who finished second to the Austrian in the overall standings in 2013 and 2014 but did not ski this World Cup season after rupturing an Achilles tendon playing soccer in October.

Svindal is stronger in the speed events of downhill and super-G, which could negatively impact Jansrud and therefore allow Hirscher to excel in the overall while focusing on the giant slalom and slalom.

This season, Hirscher has won five giant slaloms and two slaloms. He pried the giant slalom season title from Olympic and World champion Ted Ligety and has an outside shot at taking the slalom season title Sunday.

Mikaela Shiffrin takes third straight World Cup slalom season title