Ingemar Stenmark

Ingemar Stenmark to Lindsey Vonn: ‘Don’t beat my record too early’

Leave a comment

Lindsey Vonn‘s top priority for the remainder of her career is to break the World Cup wins record held by Swede Ingemar Stenmark. She is at 77 victories, nine shy of the record.

Stenmark’s goal? To hold onto the record a little bit longer.

“Keep on winning, but don’t beat my record too early,” Stenmark, in an NBCSN interview at the world championships on Tuesday, said he told Vonn on Monday. “She can beat it, but not this year. Maybe next year.”

Stenmark won his 86 World Cup races between 1974 and 1989, with 46 in giant slalom and 40 in slalom. He has said he raced one downhill — the most daunting course in Kitzbuehel, Austria — and minimal super-Gs. The super-G was not run on the World Cup until a little more than halfway into his career.

Stenmark made 231 World Cup starts, according to the International Ski Federation, and raced for the last time just before his 33rd birthday. Vonn is already at 371 starts, nearing the women’s record of 408 held by retired Austrian Renate Goetschl. Vonn turns 33 on Oct. 18.

Vonn and Stenmark first met last Feb. 23 at a World Cup race in Stockholm, where Vonn’s first question to the Swede was, “How’d you do it? How’d you get so many wins?”

On Monday, Stenmark told Vonn that if she beats his record, she also must win “Dancing with the Stars,” as Stenmark did on the Swedish version of the show in 2015.

“If you help teach me to dance for the show, it’s a deal,” Vonn told him.

This season, Vonn has one win in five World Cup races since her rushed return from breaking her right upper arm in a November training crash. She can’t reach Stenmark’s record this season — there are too few races remaining.

If Vonn goes on a winning tear in the next year, she can break the record before the PyeongChang Olympics.

MORE: Roger Federer takes in World Champs with Lindsey Vonn

Lindsey Vonn: Record more important than Olympic gold

AP
1 Comment

If Lindsey Vonn could only reach one more goal, she would reportedly not choose the Olympics.

Vonn said the most important item left on her checklist is not to win Olympic gold in 2018, but to break the record for career World Cup wins held by Swede Ingemar Stenmark, according to German press agency DPA.

Vonn is at 77 wins, nine shy of Stenmark’s record 86 set in 1989. She has one victory in five races this season, after coming back from three fractures in her left knee and a broken upper right arm in separate crashes.

Vonn is so focused on Stenmark that she posted Instagram video of her working out with a picture of Stenmark on the nearest wall on Monday.

Vonn is prioritizing downhill and super-G on the World Cup schedule the rest of this season. There are five of those races left on the schedule, so her pursuit of Stenmark will last at least into the 2017-18 season.

Next up for Vonn are the world championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland, starting with the super-G on Feb. 7.

Vonn said she plans to race the downhill, super-G and super combined at worlds and maybe the giant slalom, according to DPA.

For all of Vonn’s World Cup success, her only world championships victories came in 2009, when she swept the downhill and super-G in Val d’Isere, France.

VIDEO: Second crash for Vonn in two days

Lindsey Vonn

Lindsey Vonn

Lindsey Vonn meets Ingemar Stenmark (video)

Ingemar Stenmark, Lindsey Vonn
Screengrab
Leave a comment

Only one skier has more World Cup wins than Lindsey Vonn, and Vonn met him for the first time on Tuesday night.

Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark stood, surrounded by media, at the finish area of a World Cup parallel slalom race in Stockholm.

Stenmark won 86 World Cup races from 1974-89. Vonn is at 76 wins, with nine already this season, on pace to break Stenmark’s record before the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics.

“How’d you do it? How’d you get so many wins?” were Vonn’s first questions to Stenmark after a hug and pleasantries.

“You know that, you don’t have to ask me,” Stenmark responded, separated from Vonn by microphones. “I don’t have to chase records anymore.”

Vonn and Stenmark are vastly different skiers from vastly different eras. All of Stenmark’s wins were in slalom and giant slalom, and he spent much of his career before separate super-G races were added to the World Cup. He told Vonn he once raced a downhill, at the most famous, dangerous course in Kitzbuehel, Austria.

Vonn, starstruck, then took a selfie with Stenmark.

Vonn’s best events are downhill and super-G. Her start Tuesday, eliminated in the first round of 16 in a head-to-head, bracketed format, marked her first in a slalom in more than three years. She doesn’t plan to again, partly because it hurts her surgically repaired right knee.

“When you beat my record, I will come,” said Stenmark, who does have knee surgery in common with Vonn. “When you are very close.”

“I don’t know if I can do it, but I’m going to try,” Vonn said.

Earlier, Vonn sounded more confident.

“I have probably, hopefully two more seasons left, and I won nine [races] this season,” Vonn, who has a great chance to reach double-digit wins this campaign with four speed races left, said Tuesday, before the race. “I have 10 more [wins] to tie Stenmark. I think, if you’re looking at it mathematically, it looks pretty good, but anything can happen.”

Vonn is correct. In her comeback from two major knee surgeries, she’s been near her pre-injuries average wins per season — scoring eight last year and nine this year.

If the 31-year-old continues two more seasons, she will not only be on pace to break Stenmark’s record but also look to become the oldest Olympic women’s Alpine skiing medalist of all time.

Vonn, who didn’t fully commit to racing the slalom until Tuesday, didn’t enter to win so much as to accumulate World Cup points.

“Just for participating you get 15 points,” Vonn said. “I think that was what drew me to come up here.”

The 15 points could be crucial for Vonn, who is in a tight battle with Swiss Lara Gut for the World Cup overall title, the sport’s biggest prize this season with no Olympics or World Championships.

Vonn, a four-time World Cup overall champion (last in 2012), leads Gut by 23 points with 10 scheduled races left. Gut was also eliminated in the first round Tuesday.

Vonn and Gut next head to Andorra for a World Cup super-G and super combined on Saturday and Sunday.

VIDEO: Vonn reminded of Facebook gaffe at super-G finish