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Alpine skier Lindsey Vonn caps a banner year for American snow queens

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Pontus Lundahl/AP

(Read caption) U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn competes during the first run of the women's FIS Alpine Ski World Cup giant slalom in Are, Sweden, Friday March 9.

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Lindsey Vonn, the smiling girl with Minnesota roots and a mean training regime, has wrapped up her fourth overall World Cup title in alpine skiing – making her the only American to have won skiing's most coveted title four years in a row.

"I don't know what to say," an emotional Vonn told reporters after winning a giant slalom World Cup in Are, Sweden. "I just wanted to have two aggressive runs today. I felt like I had nothing to lose and I was having fun."

Vonn's victory today – the 52nd of her World Cup career – sealed her claim to the title, which is awarded to the skier with the most accumulated points since the season opened in October. With little more than a week of racing left, Vonn has an insurmountable lead over No. 2 Tina Maze of Slovenia.

Her win caps a banner year for US women on skis. After years at the margins of a sport long dominated by alpine wunderkinds and Scandinavian speed demons, America's daring cowgirls are cleaning up.

Nordic skier Kikkan Randall blows the field away

In Nordic skiing, where for years a top-30 finish was cheered back home, Alaskan Kikkan Randall this week wrapped up the overall World Cup sprint title. A great cartoon by German artist Thomas Zipfel shows Randall in a cowboy hat with spurs and a pistol capturing the coveted crystal globe award, as rivals Marit Bjoergen of Norway and Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland cower in astonishment.

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