Lindsey Vonn wins No. 63, breaks record (video)

Lindsey Vonn
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Lindsey Vonn wasted no time. She broke the record for women’s Alpine skiing World Cup victories on Monday, one day after tying the mark in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

And Tiger Woods was there to see it.

Vonn easily prevailed in a super-G for her 63rd career race win, clocking 1 minute, 27.03 seconds. Second-place Austrian Anna Fenninger, the Olympic super-G champion, was .85 slower, followed by Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather.

Vonn moved past Annemarie Moser-Proell for women’s World Cup victories, one day after she drew level with the retired Austrian legend in a Cortina downhill. (more comparing Moser-Proell and Vonn’s careers here)

“I feel a lot lighter,” Vonn told media in Cortina. “I have a lot less pressure.”

Boyfriend Woods, whom Vonn said watched her record-tying race on the Internet from Florida on Sunday, embraced her in the finish area Monday.

“My dad said, ‘Hey, look, I found someone,'” Vonn said on TODAY.

He showed up without telling Vonn, incognito with a mask covering most of his face, but she recognized him.

“I knew it was him immediately,” Vonn said. “He loves that stupid mask.”

Vonn exclaimed “No way!” when she saw him, according to The Associated Press.

“I’m so surprised that he’s here,” Vonn said of Woods, who last saw her race on Dec. 21, 2013, in Val d’Isere, France, when she skied off course in her last race before ending her comeback bid for the 2014 Olympics. “This is a much better memory [than Val d’Isere] that we can have forever.”

Woods joined a large group of Vonn’s family who had been in Cortina all weekend.

source: Getty Images
Lindsey Vonn and Tiger Woods embrace after the race. (Getty Images)

“He told everyone to keep it a secret,” Vonn said. “Normally no one can keep a secret in my family.”

It’s another remarkable achievement for Vonn, the 2010 Olympic downhill gold medalist and four-time World Cup overall champion returning from blowing out her right knee at the 2013 World Championships.

NBC will air a documentary on Vonn’s comeback Sunday.

“I was a kid, but I think I said I want to be the greatest ski racer ever,” Vonn said. “As an adult, I didn’t really know if it would ever come true. It seems I’m getting closer to that point.”

On Monday, Vonn won for the fourth time in eight races since December, giving her more wins than any other woman this season. It marked her first super-G victory since Dec. 8, 2012.

She is ranked fourth in the overall standings, 434 points behind Tina Maze (100 points are awarded for a win). Maze has raced 18 times this season.

What’s next for Vonn?

More World Cup races next weekend and the World Championships at home in Vail/Beaver Creek, Colo., in February.

In the long term, the overall wins record. Swede Ingemar Stenmark won 86 races in his storied career.

“We just got done talking about one record, I don’t want to talk about another one,” Vonn joked. “I’m just going to try to ski my best, and we’ll see what happens. Eighty-six is a long, long ways away. You never know, but I’m just going to focus on tomorrow.”

Vonn provided more detail in past interviews.

“I’ve already been thinking about that [men’s record],” Vonn said in December 2013, according to 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.”

In March 2012, when she had 53 World Cup wins, the Denver Post reported Vonn “shrugs off the notion of breaking that record, as if it’s the one mark that will never be touched.”

In April 2012, Vonn told Real Vail of Stenmark’s record, “That’s definitely something to look forward to in the future, but right now my goals are just to try to keep winning … I don’t know if it’s feasible to be able to break those records or not.”

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 into the 2016-17 World Cup season to pass Stenmark around age 32.

Vonn, 30, targets skiing through the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics, but she may never ski slalom again and hasn’t skied a giant slalom yet in her comeback. So getting back to 10 victories per season may be tough.

“Records are the only thing that remain of an athlete, the only thing that people will remember,” Vonn told Red Bulletin in December 2013. “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.”

Tiger Woods plans to attend World Alpine Skiing Championships

Dmitriy Balandin, surprise Olympic swimming champion, retires

Dmitriy Balandin
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Dmitriy Balandin, the Kazakh swimmer who pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the 2016 Rio Olympics, retired at age 27.

“Today I would like to announce the end of my sports career,” Balandin said last week, according to Kazakhstan’s Olympic Committee. “I am still inspired. A new phase of my life begins. I have a lot of cool projects in my head that will soon be implemented.”

Balandin reportedly has coaching aspirations.

In 2016, he won the Olympic men’s 200m breaststroke out of lane eight as the last qualifier into the final. He edged American Josh Prenot by seven hundredths of a second and became Kazakhstan’s first Olympic swimming medalist.

He followed that up with 11th- and 17th-place finishes in the breaststrokes in Tokyo last year.

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U.S. women’s basketball team scores most points in FIBA World Cup history

Brionna Jones
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SYDNEY — A’ja Wilson and the U.S. put on quite a show, breaking the World Cup scoring mark in a record rout of South Korea.

Brionna Jones scored 24 points and Wilson added 20 to help the U.S. beat South Korea 145-69 on Monday. Shakira Austin’s layup with 9 seconds left helped the Americans break Brazil’s record of 143 points set in 1990.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been part of a team that can score the basketball like this,” Wilson said. “This is crazy, we put up 145 points. I think when you look at us and just knowing how talented we are, we just came together and we play together very, very well.”

The U.S. always has the most talented and deepest roster of any team in the World Cup with 12 WNBA stars on the roster. Still, the Americans had never come close to that sort of offensive output during it’s storied World Cup history. The previous team record was 119 points against Angola in 2014 and China in 2006. The scoring margin was also the biggest in U.S. history as well surpassing the 75-point win over Angola in 2014.

The win was also the 26th in a row in World Cup play for the Americans, who haven’t lost since the 2006 semifinals when they fell to Russia. The U.S. also won 26 in a row from 1994-2006. The Soviet Union holds the World Cup record with 56 straight wins from 1959-1986.

MORE: FIBA World Cup Results

What started with Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi and Sylvia Fowles has now been passed on to Breanna Stewart and Wilson. A legacy of excellence that doesn’t look like it’s ending anytime soon.

The U.S. (4-0), which has been playing stellar defense, was challenged by South Korea early. The teams were trading baskets for the first 8 minutes and it was tied at 21 before the Americans took control, scoring the final 11 points of the period.

Kahleah Copper came off the bench for the first time of the tournament and scored six points during that spurt. The Americans kept the streak going to start the second quarter, scoring nine of the first 11 points to put the game away.

By the time the game reached the half the U.S. was up 68-40, including scoring 44 points in the paint against the undersized Koreans.

“We were trying to get the ball inside,” Jones said. “We had an advantage there.”

The only suspense in the second half was how many records the Americans could break. They took down their own scoring mark on Sabrina Ionescu’s 3-pointer with 6:15 left in the game and kept putting up points with Austin’s layup capping off the contest.

Other records broken on Monday included the 62 field goals made, 36 assists and 94 points in the paint.

“Our size was a problem for them and I thought we shared the ball,” U.S. coach Cheryl Reeve said.

The Americans were well rested for the game after having their first day off of the tournament on Sunday.

Despite the rout, South Korea (1-3) can still advance to the quarterfinals with a win over Puerto Rico on Tuesday.

Leeseul Kang, who had 37 points in a win over Bosnia and Herzegovina, scored 10 points. Hyejin Park had 17 to lead the team.

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