Maze/Vonn rivalry heats up the ice

American champion Lindsey Vonn extends perfect record in speed races but quick mouth also gets her in trouble.

    Maze/Vonn rivalry heats up the ice
    Lindsey Vonn (C) finished just ahead of Tina Maze (L) in the women's World Cup Super-G race [AP]

    Lindsey Vonn skied to victory in a women's World Cup Super-G on Saturday and found herself in an unwitting and unwanted spat with her main rival Tina Maze.

    Vonn extended her perfect record in four speed races this season, timing 1 minute, 2.71 seconds to beat World Cup overall leader Maze by 0.37 seconds. 

    Julia Mancuso of the United States was third, 1.01 behind Vonn.

    Yet talk soon centered on what Maze's coaches alleged Vonn said as she celebrated on crossing the line.

    "They think I said something very bad about her when I came to the finish and that is absolutely not true... I swore and I shouldn't have done that"

    Lindsey Vonn

    The 28-year-old American acknowledged that she used a curse word in a release of emotion at taking the lead - but had not directed it at Maze.

    "They think I said something very bad about her when I came to the finish and that is absolutely not true," Vonn said.

    "I swore and I shouldn't have done that."

    Vonn spoke after seeking out Maze, and said she had told her: "I hope you trust me enough to believe me."

    "Apparently they don't. It definitely hurts,'' said Vonn, who said she had been disappointed with her skiing when failing to finish Friday's super-combined won by Maze.

    Maze's victory a day earlier had put some pressure on Vonn, who has been affected by illness and allowed a gap to develop in the standings. Vonn scored 100 points for the victory and trails Maze by 167.

    "I'm struggling with my strength," Vonn said, adding that she skied at her limit on Saturday.

    "I came down with everything I have."

    'Not impossible to beat'

    Vonn's 57th career World Cup win, the second most in history, was her 20th in Super-G. She is the four-time defending champion in the season-long discipline title.

    She swept the three-race downhill and Super-G program last weekend at Lake Louise, Alberta, and Vonn and Maze have now combined to win seven of the nine World Cup events.

    "Tina has had an amazing season so far. It's going to be a tough season,'' said Vonn, who has won the overall title in four of the past five seasons.

    Earlier, Maze said the defending champion was "tough, but not impossible" to beat.

    "I wanted to win but Lindsey was better. It was fun to ski today," she said.

    Maze has a 163-point lead overall from 2011 champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany, who placed fifth Saturday. Vonn is third overall.

    Maze will be favoured to add to her advantage on Sunday in a giant slalom, which has traditionally been a weaker event for Vonn. 

    Saturday's race was run on a shortened course after forecast strong winds further up the mountain.

    SOURCE: AP


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