Lindsey Vonn won a super-G for her record 63rd World Cup victory and celebrated with an embrace from a surprise visitor – boyfriend Tiger Woods.
The American broke Annemarie Moser-Proell’s 35-year-old record of 62 World Cup wins on Monday with a flawless run down the Olympia delle Tofane course, finishing 0.85 seconds ahead of Anna Fenninger. Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein was third, 0.92s back.
Wearing a mask, Woods weaved through the crowd unnoticed until he shared an emotional embrace with Vonn, who had no idea that the golfer was coming.
“No way!” Vonn exclaimed when she spotted him.
“I didn’t think this could get any better than yesterday with my entire family here but now with Tiger here this is unbelievable,” said Vonn. “I said, ‘I can’t believe you came.’ And he said, ‘I told you.'”
Woods did not speak with reporters. Vonn tied the record of 62 victories when she won a downhill on Sunday.
“I’m so happy to have finished the weekend with win No.63. My family and Tiger is here. It’s a really, really special day,” she said.
Vonn faced intense media pressure to match Moser-Proell in recent weeks.
“I know it’s a big achievement,” Vonn said. “I have to focus on the skiing. I can’t let everyone else’s expectations get into my head. So that was my goal this weekend, just trying to ski my best. And I thought I did a really good job.”
Moser-Proell, an Austrian great, established her record between 1970 and 1980.
“Moser-Proell was skiing in the 1970s and all the young people in Austria don’t know what that record means,” Fenninger said. “For the newer generation it’s very important that Lindsey make history. It’s time to have a new record. She’s very important for us, because in America she’s a real superstar.”
Swedish standout Ingemar Stenmark holds the men’s record of 86 wins.
Vonn was relatively subdued in her celebration, having said that win No.62 was more important to her. She was the last of the favourites to come down and flashed a big smile when reaching the finish then did a slight fist pump.
It was Vonn’s first win in super-G this season and her fourth overall this campaign, showing a return to top form after two knee injuries kept her out of last year’s Sochi Olympics. Perhaps more importantly, the win showed Vonn is dominating again just weeks before her home world championships in Vail and Beaver Creek, Colorado.
Vonn was on track to shatter Moser-Proell’s record two years ago before a high-speed crash at the 2013 world championships in Schladming, Austria, when she tore two ligaments in her right knee. She attempted to return for Sochi but re-injured her knee in Val d’Isere, France, in December, 2013, requiring a second surgery.
The 30-year-old is planning to compete through the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
It was Vonn’s ninth career win in Cortina, where she had her first podium result in 2004, putting her within one of Austrian Renate Goetschl’s record 10 wins in the resort known as the Queen of the Dolomites.
Vonn has won 32 downhills, 21 super-Gs, three giant slaloms, two slaloms and five combined races. Not included in those numbers are Vonn’s gold medal in downhill at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, or her golds in downhill and super-G at the 2009 worlds in Val d’Isere.
Moser-Proell won 36 downhills, 16 giant slaloms, three slaloms and seven combined races. The super-G was introduced two years after Moser-Proell retired. This race was originally scheduled for Sunday but was postponed due to heavy snowfall over the weekend, which pushed the program back.