Lindsey Vonn‘s finished at the World Alpine Skiing Championships, and with the Olympics still three years away, she has another goal to motivate her.
Winning a fifth World Cup overall title.
“My super-G and downhill’s in good form,” Vonn said on Universal Sports after finishing 14th in the giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Thursday. “Now I’ve got to get my [giant slalom] back on track, and I’ll be competitive again for the overall title. That’s the goal.”
Vonn, 30, last captured the World Cup overall three years ago. The overall title goes to the skier who compiles the most points based off finishes across all disciplines — downhill, super-G, giant slalom, slalom and super combined.
It’s been 20 years since a woman 30 and over won the World Cup overall, but that will almost surely change this year with Tina Maze, 31, poised to take her second crown in three years.
If Vonn can win a fifth overall title next season, she would move within one of the record six titles taken by retired Austrian legend Annemarie Moser-Proell. Just last month, Vonn broke Moser-Proell’s record for women’s World Cup victories. Vonn is at 64 and counting.
Vonn hasn’t raced in the slalom in more than two years, but she could definitely contend for the overall title without it. Maze is currently the only woman skiing all five disciplines at a strong level, and she may retire after this season.
Last year’s World Cup overall winner, Austrian Anna Fenninger, has not raced slalom since 2011.
Vonn had hoped to perform better at the World Championships. She ended up with one medal, bronze in the super-G, after winning five of 10 World Cup races (all downhill and super-G) in her comeback from two major knee surgeries that forced her to miss the Sochi Olympics.
She was in tears after straddling a gate in the super combined slalom Monday, though she did not have a good chance to win a medal in that event. In her next race, she was 27th in the first giant slalom run Thursday morning.
But she stormed back with the fifth best time in her second run, improving to 14th place. It’s the first time Vonn finished a giant slalom at an Olympics or World Championships.
“I may not have gotten as many medals as everyone expected or wanted me to get, but in the end I skied my best every day,” Vonn said on Universal Sports.
Vonn is expected to finish the World Cup season over the next two months. She’s the standings leader in the downhill and super-G and third in the overall, though far behind Maze.
It’s a remarkable place for Vonn to be in, given she did not have a full offseason of on-snow training as other women had the opportunity to take. She also had not competed on a healthy knee in nearly two years.
Vonn complained of soreness in her surgically repaired right knee during the World Championships.
“My knee is sore, but it’s in one piece,” she said on Universal Sports. “I’m healthy.”
Who knows, maybe boyfriend Tiger Woods can help Vonn toward her next goal. Vonn said he’s been watching not only her competition, but also men’s races to learn the sport.
“I wouldn’t really say he’s offering anything; he’s not a ski tech,” she said on Universal Sports. “He doesn’t know a lot about it, but he’s really trying hard to learn. … The tactics, the ski stuff, all of the nitty-gritty stuff that we know that most people don’t.”