12:01 PM EDT, March 15, 2012
Lindsey Vonn has just one goal left this season.
And she made her attempt to reach it a lot more dramatic Thursday.
While Vonn's sixth in the Super-G in Schladming, Austria, was good enough to clinch her fourth straight World Cup season title in that discipline, it fell short of what she hoped for in the quest for the magic 2.000.
A fifth Super-G win this season would have given her 100 points for a total of 2,008, topping the World Cup season points record of 2,000 set by Hermann Maier in 2000. She collected just 40 points for sixth and stands at 1,948 with two races left, Saturday’s slalom and Sunday’s giant slalom.
“Hopefully, I can still get it,” Vonn said Thursday.
Given Vonn’s unimpressive results in slalom this year, the chase could go down to the wire.
It also may leave her wondering if there will be a repeat of last year, when cancellation of the final giant slalom – like this season, the final race of the year - because of poor course conditions ended Vonn’s chances of overcoming a two-point deficit in the overall standings.
U.S. ski team publicist Doug Haney described the conditions Thursday as "from ski boots to flip flops, it's beach volleyball weather again in Schladming."
A third in the giant slalom would give Vonn the needed points. Given that her results in that event this season are the best of her career, with two firsts and a second in eight races, a third place is not a prognosticating stretch.
But she has completed just four of eight slaloms – none of her last three – with finishes of 7,8.9 and 18.
A few points in slalom would make the task a lot easier. To get them, Vonn must finish in the top 15. (At the World Cup finals, points go to only the top 15, as opposed to the top 30 the rest of the season.)
Here is the point breakdown from places 1 through 15:
Last year’s cancellation floored Vonn, who was seeking her fourth straight overall title.
"Win or lose, I just wanted the chance. I feel devastated," Vonn said at the time. "There may never be a day where I don't look back and say 'What if?'"
When she clinched her fourth overall season title with a giant slalom victory last week, Vonn had similar feelings about 2,000.
"That opportunity may never come again in my career,” she said.
Such challenges long have brought out the best in Vonn, 27. The motto for her career could be Carpe Skiem.
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