FIS Ski World Cup Overall Title Decided by Weather
Excitement and competitiveness hit fever pitch as the 2011 Audi FIS Ski World Cup reached its conclusion at Lenzerheide Valley Resort in Switzerland on 20 March, following five months of exhilarating events across Europe and North America. Unfortunately, poor weather put a damper on the occasion, and organizers taking the unavoidable decision to cancel the Super G and Giant Slalom events for both men and women.
The Ladies’ World Cup Overall title was taken by Germany’s Maria Riesch, with Croatia’s Ivica Kostelic taking the Men’s Overall title, making his way into the history books with three wins in the 2010/2011 series. The World Cup Finals Team Event was clinched by Germany, with Austria taking the 2011 Overall Nation Cup. Second place in the Overall Nation was taken by Switzerland, with Italy taking third place, continuing in the pattern set in 2007 of the three nations finishing first, second and third.
Many will remember the 2011 Audi FIS Ski World Cup for the close competition between Lindsey Vonn of the United States and Maria Riesch for the Ladies’ 2011 World Cup overall title. Right up to the last events, the victory could have gone to either competitor, but the cancellation of events in Switzerland gave the victory to Maria Riesch who had clocked up 1478 points, sixteen podiums, six wins and two world championship bronze medals. Past World Cup achievements for Riesch include globes for Slalom in 2009 and 2010, as well as Super G and Super-Combined in 2008. Although expressing her disappointment at the cancellation of the races, Riesch was reported as saying that when she realized that she had won the overall title, she was really happy.
The decision to cancel has met with some harsh criticism, and with March historically being a month known for unstable weather conditions, it has been suggested that organizers move future events up to end the series in February, or move the finals to a venue with more predictable weather conditions. Having won the title in 2008, 2009 and 2010, Lyndsey Vonn was understandably disappointed that she didn’t get the opportunity to defend the title. Nevertheless, the popular Vail-based skier added globes for the Downhill, Combined and Super G events to her growing collection. Fans will no doubt be looking forward to the excitement of the 2012 FIS Ski World Cup and the opportunity to watch their favorite champion in action.