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Lindsey Vonn becomes the first American woman to win the World Cup overall title twice

The skier wins the last downhill of the season in Sweden.

March 12, 2009|Helene Elliott; Barry Stavro | Staff and Wire Reports

For a while, Lindsey Vonn was famous for a horrifying fall during a training run for the Turin Olympic downhill ski race.

Now, she's famous for standing atop the podium -- a lot.

Vonn, of Vail, Colo., on Wednesday became the first American woman to win the World Cup overall title twice, clinching her second successive crown by winning the last downhill of the season in Are, Sweden.

Vonn, who won two gold medals at this year's world championships, finished the course in 1 minute 42.49 seconds to ensure she'd keep the overall lead with three races left.

She previously clinched the downhill title and could add the super-giant slalom title: She trails Fabienne Suter of Switzerland by 15 points entering today's race.

Since severing a tendon in her right thumb while celebrating at the world championships, Vonn has worn a splint and taped her hand to her pole.

"For a while there it was looking pretty dark and gloomy. I didn't think it would be possible even to ski," she said during a conference call. "The fact that I was able to come back and finish the season strong was really big for me. I'm really, really happy."

She's now a favorite to win multiple medals at the Vancouver Games. "I give my life for skiing and I want it so bad, and I hope these Olympics will be my time and I will be able to accomplish my childhood dream of winning an Olympic gold medal," she said.

-- Helene Elliott

SOCCER

Beckham expects boos from Galaxy fans

David Beckham told ESPN he wouldn't be surprised if he was booed when he returns from AC Milan to play for the Galaxy in July.

"I'm sure I'll have criticism," he said. "I can only make my turnaround by the way I perform on the pitch and my commitment to the team, and I'll show that when I get back. . . . We'll have to wait and see the first time I play at the Home Depot and see how that goes."

Beckham, who has played two seasons for the Galaxy, said the quality of soccer in the U.S. isn't a match yet for overseas.

"It's not [at] a level at the moment that's the same as in Europe," he said. "I wouldn't have committed myself to the Galaxy and as an MLS ambassador if I didn't believe the sport wouldn't grow. And I've always said it's not going to take a year or two. It's going to take five, 10 or 15 years. And I'm still committed to that."

-- Barry Stavro

Heather Mitts hit a post with her seventh-round shot, and Sweden defeated the United States, 4-3, on penalty kicks following a 1-1 tie in the final of the Algarve Cup women's tournament at Faro, Portugal. . . . Thierry Henry scored two goals to lead Barcelona into the Champions League quarterfinals with a 5-2 home victory over Lyon that gave the Spanish league leader a 6-3 aggregate win. Manchester United also reached the quarterfinals by defeating visiting Inter Milan, 2-0, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring his first European goal since last season's victorious final. Arsenal and Porto also advanced Wednesday. . . . Matias Vuoso and Leandro Augusto scored less than nine minutes apart in the first half, leading Mexico to a 5-1 win over Bolivia in an international friendly at Commerce City, Colo.

HOCKEY

General managers address rule changes

NHL general managers, finishing three days of meetings in Naples, Fla., recommended that TV timeouts be allowed after a team ices the puck but voted against a proposal to make regulation-time wins the first tiebreaker in determining playoff positions. Wins are now the tiebreaker, but a proposal by Detroit's Ken Holland would have distinguished between regulation wins and those recorded in overtime or shootouts.

They also quashed a proposal from Toronto's Brian Burke that would have allowed teams to pay a portion of a traded player's salary.

The meeting was otherwise spent on discussions of the collective bargaining agreement and other economic issues. Commissioner Gary Bettman said he expects the salary cap for next season to be "about where it was this year," $56.7 million, but expressed uncertainty over the 2010-11 figure.

-- Helene Elliott

GOLF

Woods opens play at Doral today

The CA Championship, which starts today on the Blue Monster at Doral, Fla., with a field of 80 players, will be Tiger Woods' first stroke-play tournament since he won the U.S. Open in June.

ETC.

Long Beach State's Hegarty won't return

Long Beach State Athletic Director Vic Cegles announced that women's basketball Coach Mary Hegarty's contract would not be renewed. . . . Dominique O'Connor, a 5-foot-9 senior point guard who helped Westchester High win its 10th City Section boys' basketball championship, has been selected the section's player of the year by a panel of sportswriters.

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