Ilka Štuhec sovereignly won the last world cup downhill race of the season in Aspen, and won the small crystal globe, securing the highest sum of points for the royal discipline.
Štuhec became one of only seven skiers in history to win the downhill crystal globe in the World Cup in the same year she became the world champion.
Six other skiers managed the same feat, namely Olga Pall in 1968, Annemarie Moser-Pröll in 1974 and 1978, Michaela Figini in 1985, Picabo Street in 1996, Renate Götschl in1999, and Lindsey Vonn in 2009.
“It’s amazing. I mean it’s been an incredible season and right now that this [globe] is here, it’s heavy,” was the first comment given by the Slovene champion after the presentation of the small crystal globes in the Aspen finish arena. She explained her plan for the last downhill race of the season: “I wanted to do like every other time this season like ski the best way possible and do my best and we’ll see what comes. And ending the season with a victory and a globe, it’s pretty good.”
With her seventh win in her career the 26-year skier equalled the achievement of Mateja Svet. Only Bojan Križaj (8) and Tina Maze (26) had more victories in World Cup ski races during the 50 years long history of alpine skiing.
She set an outstanding time
Štuhec’s performance was incredible. She was to first to start, and skied almost perfectly, only before the third intermediate time she made a slight error, but with no noticeable effect. Only after the other skiers crossed the finish line it became obvious that Ilka had skied much faster; also the Italian Sofia Goggia, the only one who could have taken the globe from Ilka, was left behind. Before the last race Goggia was behind Ilka by 97 points, and only a miracle could have brought her the globe. But there was no miracle for Goggia. She was falling behind Štuhec, and when crossing the finish line she remained behind Ilka by more than one second (+1,03).
The first who managed to cross the finish line less than a second slower was Lindsey Vonn, who was ninth to go. She fell behind by more than half a second (+0,51) already at the first checkpoint, next by 84 milliseconds, but in the end she was left behind by 0,66 second. The third place was taken by Goggia.
Ilka was not completely satisfied with her performance
Štuhec was not completely satisfied with her performance. “My skiing was not perfect, at least not all the time. But I enjoyed it immensely. I am happy I had another great day,” Štuhec later explained, and admitted she was a bit nervous before the race. While listening to the national anthem she kept wondering how everything that was happening was possible. “How far we have come, and what else can be achieved … it hardly gets better,” she concluded.
Source: RTVSLO.si | Mitja Lisjak, MMC; translated by G. K., photo EPA/Reuters