Bormio, Italy, Mar. 20 (AP by Piero Valsecchi)–Hermann Maier led an Austrian domination of World Cup titles, becoming only the third skier in Alpine ski history to win four crowns in one season.
“He’s a terrific skier, who still can win a lot in the coming years,” said three-time Olympic champion Alberto Tomba, who won his only World Cup overall title and two discipline titles in the cup finals here in 1995.
Maier, who found international fame only three years ago, has already captured two Olympic golds and two world titles.
In Bormio, he clinched his second World Cup overall crown in three years, along with the downhill, super-G and giant slalom titles.
He equaled the four World Cup titles in one season set by ski greats Jean-Claude Killy and Pirmin Zurbriggen.
Maier also became the first skier ever to reach 2,000 points in the overall World Cup standings.
Maier, whose aggressive and fearless style sometimes resulted in spectacular spills, said he was especially proud of his first cup title in downhill, the most beloved discipline in Austria.
Maier finished second to teammate Hannes Trinkl in Wednesday’s speed race, collecting the points he needed to fight off a comeback attempt by Italy’s Kristian Ghedina.
In the super-G, dominated by Austrian skiers throughout the season, Maier collected four wins in seven races.
In giant slalom, he had three wins and two second places, but captured the title by only three points, ahead of teammate Christian Mayer.
Without Maier, slalom specialist Benjamin Raich led a 1-2-3 Austrian show of the giant slalom.
Austrian women also had their share of glory, adding three more titles to Austria’s loot.
Renate Goetschl captured the super-G and overall titles, succeeding injured teammate Alexandra Meissnitzer.
Michaela Dorfmeister, second to Goetschl overall, took the giant slalom title as Austria grabbed seven crystal globes out of 10.
Germany’s Regina Hauesl beat Goetschl by only five points for the women’s downhill crown.
Haeusl fell in the finish line area and broke her right leg after capturing decisive points for a ninth-place finish.
The slalom titles both escaped Austria’s clutches.
Norwegian veteran Kjetil Andre Aamodt, a speed specialist who developed a winning technique between the gates, took the men’s globe and Slovenian Spela Pretnar took the women’s.
The last women’s slalom of the season threw back into the limelight American Kristina Koznick, who won her second consecutive World Cup race following a slow season start.
The 24-year-old skier from Burnsville, Minn., had an impressive 4-2-1-1 finish in the last events, but could not match Pretnar’s winning total of 645 points.
The Slovenian woman had four season wins.
Two other U.S. wins were earned by Daron Rahlves in consecutive downhills at Kvitfjell in February.
The American downhiller placed 10th in the discipline standings behind seven Austrians, Italy’s Ghedina and Canada’s Ed Podivinsky.
Copyright (c) 2000 The Associated Press