Vonn loses overall, 'devastated' by canceled race

The Associated Press
Saturday, March 19, 2011; 6:01 PM

LENZERHEIDE, Switzerland -- Lindsey Vonn overcame a concussion and won three titles in three days this month. Yet she was powerless when faced with wet, foggy weather and a decision by skiing's ruling body to cancel the women's season finale.

"Win or lose, I just wanted the chance. I feel devastated," Vonn said in a statement released by her U.S. team.

Vonn was hoping to win a fourth straight overall World Cup title in Saturday's giant slalom. Instead, friend and rival Maria Riesch's three-point lead held in the overall standings after the race was called off because of poor course conditions.

"The cancellation of this race doesn't just hurt me," vonn said. "It hurts the fans and the sport of ski racing as a whole."

Thick fog later descended, making it unlikely the two-run race could have been completed. However, the men's slalom was held Saturday in fog and poor visibility after a delayed start. The men took the 10 a.m. slot originally held by the women.

The International Ski Federation said the decision to cancel - denying Vonn a last chance to retain her title - was not taken lightly.

"Working with these kind of snow conditions, we don't have any tools that would make it a fair race," spokeswoman Riikka Rakic told The Associated Press by telephone. "All the efforts have been undertaken, but it was not quite enough."

The final points tally was 1,728-1,725 in Riesch's favor. The German clinched her first title after two straight seasons as runner-up. Vonn acknowledged some regrets about how the season ended after five months and 33 races.

"There may never be a day where I don't look back and say, 'What if?'" she said. "But right now, all I'm thinking about is how much harder I need to work this summer to continue winning races."

Vonn said Riesch deserved her success.

"Maria had an outstanding season and again proved to be my biggest competitor," Vonn said. "She's worked really hard for this. I'm happy for her."

Vonn said she was "extremely proud" to have been part of this.

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