March 9, 2012 / 1:50 PM / 7 years ago

Alpine skiing: Lindsey Vonn wins fourth overall World Cup

ARE, Sweden (Reuters) - American Lindsey Vonn won the 2012 women’s Alpine skiing overall World Cup with victory in Friday’s giant slalom race.

A November 29, 2011 file photo shows Lindsay Vonn during a race in Lake Louise, Alberta. REUTERS/Andy Clark

Vonn now leads closest rival Tina Maze of Slovenia by 554 points with five races - and a maximum 500 points - left in the season.

It was the American’s fourth overall World Cup after she won it in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Vonn has also won the downhill and super-combined World Cup titles this season and is ideally placed to add the super-G trophy at the World Cup finals in Schladming, Austria, next week.

She is also still in contention in the giant slalom competition, trailing Olympic champion Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany by 95 points with one race to go.

Vonn had never won a giant slalom race before this season but collected her maiden win in the discipline in the season-opener in Soelden, Austria.

“I’m just thrilled. It’s crazy, I could almost go on holiday in Schladming,” the American said after beating Italian Federica Brignone by 0.48 seconds to collect her 52nd World Cup win.

Rebensburg, who could have wrapped up her second successive giant slalom cup by finishing second, was third in Friday’s race, 1:05 behind Vonn.

German Maria Hoefl-Riesch, who beat Vonn to last year’s overall cup by three points, failed to finish the first leg.

“I was very nervous because it was the first time I found myself in the lead after the first run of a giant slalom,” said Vonn, who clocked a combined time of two minutes 28 seconds.

“I was alone up there and I told myself I could not miss that chance. It had nothing to do with the World Cup. It was about the race itself.

“It was the plan today: to think about the race only, not about the World Cup,” she added.

The 27-year-old Vonn became the first American skier to win four overall titles. She has won 11 races this season, the same as in 2009-2010, and has added giant slalom to her all-round talent.

The winter did not start ideally though, as she announced her divorce from coach and mentor Thomas Vonn, but her personal problems did not hamper her performance.

The second most successful woman in the World Cup - only Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell won more overall titles with six in the 1970s - the American is far from retiring.

She is close to passing the 55 World Cup race wins achieved by Swiss Vreni Schneider in the 1980s and 1990s and could threaten the record of 62 victories held by Moser-Proell next winter.

Vonn will take part in a slalom in the Swedish resort on Saturday before travelling to Schladming.

Editing by Clare Fallon;; +44 20 7542 7933; Reuters Messaging:

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