Lindsey Vonn will not be going to her fourth Olympics in Sochi, but are the 2018 Winter Games in her future?
It’s obviously way too early to tell, but let’s look at some statistics.
She will be 33 years old when the Olympics come to Pyeongchang, South Korea. If she competes there and wins a medal, she will be the oldest women’s Olympic Alpine skiing medalist of all time.
The oldest men’s Olympic Alpine skiing medalist was Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt, who was 34 in 2006. The oldest women’s medalist was Austria’s Michaela Dorfmeister, according to OlympStats.com. Dorfmeister was 32 in 2006.
Both Aamodt and Dorfmeister won gold.
Vonn has made her goals clear in the four years between Sochi and Pyeongchang — to keep skiing and to break records. She’s especially targeting success at next year’s World Championships near her hometown in Vail and Beaver Creek, Colo.
Vonn has 59 career World Cup wins. She is second all-time among women behind Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell, who had 62, and has long been thought to eventually break it, even with her major knee injuries.
The long-term goal is the men’s record held by Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark, who won 86 races.
“I’ve already been thinking about that [men’s record],” she said in a December Q&A published by Red Bulletin. “My current plan is to keep going until the 2015 World Cup. Then I’ll see how far away I am from that number and then I’ll decide what to do, whether I’ll keep going in every discipline or maybe just downhill and super-G and concentrate on that record.”
Vonn averaged 10 victories per season from 2009 through 2012. If she gets back on that pace and stays healthy, she would need to ski well into the 2016-17 World Cup season to pass Stenmark around age 32.
“Records are the only thing that remain of an athlete, the only thing that people will remember,” Vonn told Red Bulletin. “If I want to ensure that people don’t forget me, I can only stop once I’ve set the bar as high as possible for anyone coming after me. That means that as long as I can keep winning I’ll keep skiing. Essentially it’s about what I leave behind, and that means statistics, records.”