ARE, Sweden -- Lindsey Vonn is back at the summit of Alpine skiing, and standing alone as the most successful American skier. Vonn punctuated her near-perfect season in perfect fashion Friday, earning her fourth overall World Cup title with a dominating giant slalom victory. That puts her in a league of her own among American skiers, man or woman, and she still has another week to chase the World Cup record for points in a season. "Im just really excited. Im thrilled. Its crazy," Vonn said after surpassing Phil Mahres American record of three overall titles on the mens side between 1981-83. She is now second on the womens list behind Annemarie Moser-Proell of Austria, who won six in the 1970s. Marc Girardelli of Luxembourg is the only man to have won more than Vonn, with five titles. A year after losing the overall title by just three points to main rival Maria Hoefl-Riesch on the last day of the season, Vonn left no doubt about her supremacy this time -- winning by nearly half a second to wrap up the overall title even before next weeks World Cup finals. "It is a lot less stressful clinching the overall title before the finals," Vonn said. "Last year, I think I lost years off of my life. Its been an amazing season, one where Ive had a lot of fun and enjoyed every race. Ive found my rhythm in GS for the first time in my career." Indeed, Vonn had never won a race in the discipline before taking the opening giant slalom of the season. That made her just the fifth woman to win World Cup races in five disciplines, and took away the only weakness in her repertoire. Given that she is as dominant as ever in the speed disciplines, it also made her nearly unbeatable in the race for the giant crystal globe that comes with the overall title. Fridays victory gave her an insurmountable 1,808 points with five individual races left this season. With 100 points for each victory, that gives Vonn a good chance of breaking the record of 2,000 points set by Austrian great Hermann Maier in 2000. Janica Kostelic of Croatia holds the womens record of 1,970 points from 2006. After Saturdays slalom in Are, there are four races plus a team event at the World Cup finals in Schladming, Austria. "Anything is possible, but its going to be really difficult," Vonn said about the overall points record. "Im going to have to execute in every race and seize the opportunity like I did today. Ive got three big chances to make the top three in the downhill, super-G and the GS (in Schladming). But Im going to have to execute and make no mistakes." Federica Brignone of Italy was second on Friday, 0.48 behind, with Olympic champion Viktoria Rebensburg in third, 1.05 slower than Vonn. Marie-Michele Gagnon of Lac-Etchemin, Que., was the top Canadian, finishing 25th. Gagnon also was ranked 26th in the world, missing out on the World Cup final in the discipline by one place and just two points overall. Marie-Pier Prefontaine of Saint-Sauveur, Que., did not finish her first run. Erin Mielzynski of Guelph, Ont., a slalom specialist, was 43rd after the first run and did not qualify for the second run. It was Vonns 52nd career World Cup race victory -- and second in GS. "I always felt Are was a good place for me in the GS. I got a lot of confidence from Ofterschwang and felt like I had nothing to lose," she said, referring to her second place last weekend in the German resort. "This season has been great in every single way." Alex Hoedlmoser, the U.S. womens head coach, said Vonns improvement in GS has been remarkable. "This GS win is absolutely huge," Hoedlmoser said. "Im just thinking back two years when she was not even considered for making the top 10." Vonn won the overall three times in a row from 2008-2010. Last season, Hoefl-Riesch took the overall when the giant slalom at the World Cup finals was cancelled because of soft snow. Rebensburg looks set to secure the giant slalom title at the finals in Schladming. She leads the discipline with 550 points, 95 ahead of Vonn in second place. "I had a good day and skied pretty clean, even though my second run wasnt my best," said Rebensburg, who won back-to-back giant slalom wins in Ofterschwang last weekend. "I heard from the coaches (ahead of the second run) that it was not easy to ski well, so I tried to ski without mistakes." For all her improvements in GS, Vonn doesnt think she can overtake the German for the discipline title next week. "Its wrapped up," Vonn said. cheap jerseys china
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. Brad Peacock, making just his second major league start, pitched 5 2-3 scoreless innings and Michael Morse hit a three-run homer to lead the Washington Nationals to a 6-1 victory over Philadelphia, completing a four-game sweep and handing the Phillies their sixth straight loss. WHISTLER, B.C. -- Admirers of Sarah Burke gathered in Whistler, B.C., on Tuesday night to bid a sad farewell to the late freeskiing pioneer. Burke, who was born in Ontario and lived in Squamish, B.C., died in January, after a fall while training in the Superpipe at Park City, Utah. Burke, 29, sustained severe irreversible brain damage due to lack of oxygen and blood when one of the arteries to her brain ruptured. The public memorial service was delayed until near the end of the ski season so freeskiers around the world could attend and pay their respects. Family, friends and fellow athletes held a private memorial on the Blackcomb Mountain earlier in the day at the halfpipe, a place Burke loved best. "Today in the halfpipe it was unbelievable how much Sarahs memory has pulled us all together," said Trennan Paynter, coach of the Canadian freestyle halfpipe team. "Things will never be the same without her but I can tell you that when we walk into the Sochi Olympic stadium, Sarah is going to be the one leading the team." A normally raucous Whistler crowd fell silent while watching images and videos of the multiple X Games gold medallist. Fellow athletes, friends and family members shared memories of Burkes accomplishments in sport and life. With tears, laughter and a lot of noise, Whistler brought the memory of a local athlete back home. "Whistler was a special place for Sarah," said freeskier and friend Mike Douglas. "More great things happened to her here than anywhere else. She had such strong feelings about this place." Burke is celebrated as one of the most influential athletes in winter sport.dddddddddddd Her success is unparalleled in the sport of freeskiing. Burke was the first woman to land a 720, then a 900, then a 1080-degree spin in competition. She was also instrumental in helping to get her sport into the Olympics for 2014 in Sochi. Along with her success as an athlete, Sarah is also remembered for her humility and energy. Rory Bushfield, Burkes husband, referred to his late wife as his best friend and inspiration in life. "She was so kind and fearless. It wasnt the gold medals that made her a champion, it was the little things she did for others," Bushfield said. "Its hard for me to put into words how much you mean to me, Sarah." The story of Burkes death received global attention. A fund was set up to help cover hospital bills, which raised well over US$300,000 within days of going live on the Internet. "Remember Sarah" and "Believe In Sarah" stickers contributed over $15,000 to the total, and have been seen on athletes gear at every major ski event this year. In honour of her legend, the overall champion trophy, one of the biggest awards in pro skiing will now be named for Burke and presented for the first time at the World Skiing Invitational/Association of Freeskiing Professionals world championships at the end of April. Burkes impact on the sport wont be forgotten in Whistler as her words flickered on the screen and echoed through the crowd. "It was never my goal to be recognized. I love the sport, I love doing it and I want as many girls as possible to do it too. That has always been my goal." ' ' '