BORMIO, Italy — Lindsey Vonn raised her arms and hugged teammate Stacey Cook after completing the first American sweep of the overall World Cup titles in 25 years.
Bode Miller did his part a day earlier by winning his second overall crown. He and Vonn are the first Americans to win the overall in the same year since Phil Mahre and Tamara McKinney in 1983.
“It’s just a big day for America,” Vonn said Friday.
Ted Ligety added to the moment by winning the season’s final giant slalom. He is the first American to capture the discipline title since Miller in 2004.
Vonn had the fastest run in the second leg of the slalom to finish 11th. She eliminated Maria Riesch, the only skier in contention for the overall, before the German had a chance to ski her second leg.
“It was special for me to wrap up the overall in slalom because I started as a slalom skier in Buck Hill, Minnesota,” said Vonn, who also won the downhill title this season.
Marlies Schild of Austria won the race to take the season’s slalom crown.
Vonn defeated Nicole Hosp of Austria by 208 points for the overall title.
“I just gave it everything I had, took a lot of risks, and it paid off,” she said. “It’s like winning an Olympic gold medal. I remember reading about the legends of skiing as a kid and now I’m one of them. I can’t believe it.”
McKinney praised the U.S. skiers and suggested that more challenges await.
“Just winning the overall is not an end-all,” she said during a conference call. “There’s always someone who’s a little better at something. As soon as you admire the turn behind you there’s one in front of you that will catch you off guard.”
Ligety moved from seventh to first in a blazing second run to beat Benjamin Raich of Austria, his nearest challenger for the giant slalom title. Ligety completed the two runs in 2 minutes, 18.04 seconds to beat Raich by 0.31 seconds.
“Second run, I knew I had to hammer it down and I took a lot of risks,” Ligety said. “I was pretty lucky to come through.”
Ligety, the 23-year-old Olympic combined champion, finished with 485 points in the giant slalom, 47 ahead of Raich. He said winning the giant slalom title was tougher than winning Olympic gold.
“To do it all season is sweet,” he said. “It’s cool to have the GS title, but it’s nothing in comparison to what (Miller and Vonn) have.”