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Vonn crowns season with 2nd overall title

LINDSEY Vonn took the women's overall title for the second straight year by winning the last downhill of the season yesterday at the World Cup finals in Are, Sweden.

The American completed the 2,638-meter Olympia course in 1 minute, 42.49 seconds after posting the fastest splits all the way down.

"It's amazing," Vonn said. "It's been a long season and it's been really difficult and challenging, but I'm really happy that it's over. Winning today and finishing out the season strongly means a lot to me."

She needed at least an eighth-place finish to become the first woman in US history to capture two World Cup overall titles. "Winning the overall a second time it's huge," Vonn said.

Maria Riesch of Germany was second in 1:42.89 and also finished second overall. Austrian veteran Renate Goetschl, a five-time winner at Are, placed third in 1:44.39.

With three races left, Vonn leads the overall standings on 1,688 points. Riesch is second on 1,299 and Anja Paerson (990) of Sweden third.

A double gold medalist a last month's world championships, Vonn also has a chance to win the super-G title, trailing Fabienne Suter of Switzerland by only 15 points. The last super-G is today.

Vonn had already clinched the downhill title for the second straight year, matching hero and friend Picabo Street's consecutive titles in 1995 and 1996.

Vonn topped the final downhill standings with 502 points.

Andrea Fischbacher of Austria and Riesch were second and third with 326 and 292 points, respectively.

Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway won the men's downhill finale to take the overall lead, and Michael Walchhofer clinched the downhill championship.

Svindal, skiing on the hill where he won the downhill gold at the 2007 worlds, completed the Olympia course in 1:22.26.

Didier Cuche of Switzerland was runner-up, 0.20 behind. Hans Olsson of Sweden was third, 0.36 back.

Svindal leads the overall standings with 929. Benjamin Raich of Austria, another former overall champion and a gate specialist, advanced to second with 857 points after placing 13th, just inside the points.

Cuche moved to third with 843 points. Ivica Kostelic of Croatia, who shared the overall lead with Raich going into the race, dropped to fourth with 837 points after finishing in 17th place.

Walchhofer clinched the downhill title when his only challenger, Austrian teammate Klaus Kroell, only managed the ninth fastest time. Kroell trailed Walchhofer by 75 points going into the race. A win is worth 100 points.


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