GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (Reuters) - Tina Maze topped an extraordinary campaign with a new World Cup points record of 2,024 after her victory in the women’s downhill on Saturday gave her wins in all five disciplines this season.
The dominant Slovenian - now the first woman to have broken the 2,000 points barrier - did even better than Austria’s Hermann Maier, who totaled 2,000 points exactly when he won the men’s overall World Cup in 2000.
In one minute and 40.46 seconds, Maze bagged her ninth World Cup victory of the season and became only the second woman in modern skiing to win in all five disciplines in the same season after Croatia’s Janica Kostelic in 2006.
“I’ve already been very happy but rarely as much as today,” World Cup champion Maze told reporters as she sported a T-shirt with 2,000 written on.
“I don’t know what I‘m happiest about. So many things are happening to me today,” added the 29-year-old, who had only won once previously in the downhill in St Moritz in 2008.
”There’s the 2,000 points but I really needed to prove myself that I could win a downhill again. In St Moritz, I was lucky.
“I could not miss a chance like this. I love the course and the conditions were perfect today,” she said.
Kostelic told Reuters: “Her season has just been perfect.”
American Laurenne Ross confirmed the brilliant form of the U.S. team in speed events this season by finishing second, 0.39 adrift.
However, her team mate Alice McKennis crashed heavily on the tricky and icy Kandahar piste.
McKennis, the unexpected winner of a downhill in St Anton this season, had to be flown away from the course and no details on her condition were immediately available.
Ross was the sixth member of the U.S. women’s ski team on the podium of a speed event in the World Cup this season but Maze’s runaway overall success and injury last month to previous all-conquering American Lindsey Vonn has overshadowed them.
In her home resort, Maria Hoefl-Riesch earned a solid third place, 0.50 off the pace.
Maze, who also won the super-G gold medal at the world championships in Schladming last month, should add more points to her record tally in Sunday’s super-G on the same piste.
“To break Hermann Maier’s record is of course nice too, but it was not my main goal at the start of this season,” Maze added.
“I have achieved so much but there was also so much hard work involved in all these successes.”
The World Cup season ends in Switzerland’s Lenzerheide on March 17.
Editing by Mark Meadows