Lindsey Vonn says she feels "devastated" losing her World Cup overall title without being able to run the final race.
By Associated Press | Posted: Mar 19, 7:47a ET | Updated: Mar 19, 9:03a ET
LENZERHEIDE, Switzerland (AP) - Lindsey Vonn feels "devastated" at losing her World Cup overall title on Saturday without being able to fight for it in the final race.
The three-time defending champion was denied to chance to overhaul friend and rival Maria Riesch when the season-finale giant slalom was called off because of poor snow conditions.
"Win or lose I just wanted the chance. I feel devastated," Vonn said in a statement published by the U.S. ski team.
The United States racer surrendered her crown by just three points, giving Riesch her first title after two straight seasons as runner-up.
Vonn said the sport also lost out in missing what shaped to be an epic showdown race.
"The cancellation of this race doesn't just hurt me, it hurts the fans and the sport of ski racing as a whole," she said.
Vonn acknowledged some regrets about how the season ended after five months and 33 races.
"There may never be a day where I don't look back and say, 'What if?'" she said. "But right now all I'm thinking about is how much harder I need to work this summer to continue winning races."
Vonn defied predictions with a bold comeback in recent weeks, and after Wednesday's downhill retook the lead that Riesch had held since December.
The Minnesota native had a 27-point edge ahead of Friday's slalom but scored too few points finishing 13th as Riesch placed fourth.
Vonn said her friend - whose wedding she will attend in the offseason - deserved her success.
"Maria had an outstanding season and again proved to be my biggest competitor," Vonn said. "She's worked really hard for this. I'm happy for her."
Vonn said their duel had provided "one of the most exciting seasons in ski racing history."
"I'm extremely proud to have been in the fight," Vonn said. "A few weeks ago I was over 200 points behind, and I was able to battle back into the overall lead with just two races remaining."
Vonn thanked her husband and adviser Thomas and U.S. team coaches and praised her teammates, including Julia Mancuso, whose victory in Wednesday's downhill was one of the season's many "what if" moments. Mancuso's impressive first victory since 2007 pushed Vonn into fourth position, which scored 10 points fewer than third.
"Ted (Ligety) continues to take GS to a new level, Julia (Mancuso) was right back on the podium and the U.S. women won the downhill and super G standings," Vonn said.
"I cannot thank my husband, coaches and our entire team enough for their support. This was a great season." ALH1020: "... called off because of poor snow conditions." -- that sucks! News | Lindsey Vonn 'devastated' to lose World Cup title | Universal Sports