Tina Maze nears history; Lindsey Vonn emotional after DNF (video)
Slovenia’s Tina Maze won her third medal in as many races at the World Championships, taking gold in the super combined to move closer to history in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Monday.
Lindsey Vonn straddled a gate in her slalom run, taking her out of the standings after she was seventh in the morning downhill. Vonn, who said earlier Monday she was feeling knee soreness, could race in one more event at Worlds, the giant slalom Thursday. Earlier, Vonn won bronze in the super-G and was fifth in the downhill.
“I’m just really disappointed,” an emotional Vonn said on NBCSN. “It’s a hometown World Championships, and I really tried as hard as I could. I came up short, and that’s disappointing for myself, for my family and for my fans. I just didn’t figure out this hill at all. I’m disappointed today because I actually skied really good slalom the last two days [in training]. I thought I had a chance at getting a medal.”
Vonn had not skied slalom in competition in more than two years. She did not finish the combined at the 2006 and 2010 Olympics and the 2007, 2009 and 2011 World Championships.
“I have one more chance in the GS, and I’ll do my best there,” Vonn said. “A lot of expectations, and I tried my best to live up to them, but I just didn’t.”
Maze, 31, prevailed by .22 of a second combining downhill and slalom runs Monday. Austrians were second, third and fourth. Nicole Hosp, also 31, earned silver, just as she did in Sochi. Michaela Kirchgasser held off super-G champion Anna Fenninger for bronze. (full results here)
Maze skied the fastest morning downhill run and the fifth fastest afternoon slalom run. She added this title to her downhill gold and super-G silver from last week and celebrated with a cartwheel in the finish area.
“It was really a lot of pressure on me today,” Maze, who skis with the Slovenian national anthem’s words on her suit, said in a press conference. “I felt that I have to do this. It’s not easy to race like that. I was really nervous before the slalom.”
Maze, the World Cup overall leader who may retire after this season, is hoping to become the first woman to win five individual medals at a single World Championships. Only one man has done it -- Norway’s Lasse Kjus in 1999.
“I’m more than halfway, so three is done, missing two more,” Maze told NBC Sports’ Carolyn Manno. “I hope I can do it, for sure. It’s not easy.”
What are Maze’s chances in the two remaining individual events? She’s slated for the giant slalom Thursday and the slalom Saturday.
In the giant slalom, Maze is ranked fifth in this season’s World Cup standings. But she dug out of a hole after placing 22nd in the season-opening giant slalom on Oct. 25 with finishes of fourth, first and seventh in the three most recent giant slaloms. She’s also the Sochi Olympic giant slalom champion.
In the slalom, Maze is ranked third in the World Cup standings with podium finishes in three of the six competitions this season. Slalom is the only discipline in which Maze has never won a World Championships medal.
The World Championships continue with the mixed-gender team event Tuesday. That will be Olympic slalom champion Mikaela Shiffrin‘s debut at these Worlds.