U.S. skiers Miller and Vonn win overall World Cup
For the first time since 1983, Americans captured both the men's and women's titles at the season finale in Bormio, Italy.
A historic year for US skiing began with a wedding and a divorce.Skip to next paragraph
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Six months ago, few expected two Americans to be crowned the best alpine skiers this weekend, winning both the women's and men's World Cup overall title for the first time since 1983.
Lindsey Kildow's inability to find the brakes had made her as familiar with crash netting as the podium – until she wed ex-racer Thomas Vonn, who, she says, taught her that "you can't ski at 110 percent all the time."
Renegade Olympic medalist Bode Miller, meanwhile, veered into unknown territory – again – when he split with the US ski team after years of disputes.
Since then, though, Mr. Miller and Ms. Vonn have skied better than anyone on the planet, shocking a sport that sometimes seems to be little more than a European supper club in crash helmets. Miller is only the second non-European man to win the World Cup overall title since it was established in 1967; Vonn is the third woman.
It offers a measure of vindication to Miller – not that he is likely to care – after he emerged tarred, feathered, and medal-less from the 2006 Olympic Games to ski an indifferent 2007 season. For Vonn, still on the upward arc of her career, it provides a glimmer of what could lie ahead.
Winning an Olympic gold "is my No. 1 goal," said Vonn in a conference call after the final event of the World Cup season in Bormio, Italy. "But to be honest, the overall title is much more difficult because you have to be consistent."
Indeed, the overall World Cup is contested over a series of races that run from before Halloween and nearly to Easter. Points are awarded to the top 30 finishers in five disciplines – downhill, Super G, giant slalom, slalom, and combined – with the first three skiers taking 100, 80, and 60 points, respectively.
World Cup history bears that out. Only two other Americans have ever won the World Cup overall title, and they both did it in the same year. In 1983, Tamara McKinney became the first American woman to win, while Phil Mahre captured his third – and last – consecutive title. The only other non-European to win was Canadian Nancy Greene in 1967 and '68.
Miller rebounds from '06 Olympics
Miller had joined that group in 2005, when he won his first overall title. It had seemed to be perfect timing, setting up Miller as one of America's gold-medal locks for the Turin Olympics a year later. Instead, he came away with one fifth place, three DNFs (did not finish), and a reputation for pigheadedly throwing away his talent and duty to country with late-night carousing.
World Cup medals 2007-08
In a season-long contest that started before Halloween and ended this weekend in Bormio, Italy, Vonn and Miller collected the most points to win the combined and overall World Cup titles, while US skier Ted Ligety won the giant slalom. Points are awarded to the top 30 finishers in five disciplines: downhill, Super G, giant slalom, slalom, and combined with the first three skiers taking 100, 80, and 60 points, respectively. [Editor's note: The original version misstated which titles Miller won.]
The overall World Cup winners' point totals, and the margin of victory:
Ms. Vonn: 1,403 points – 220 points
Mr. Miller: 1,409 points – 111 points
Source: International Ski Federation