Lindsey Vonn, MIkaela Shiffrin

Upcoming milestones for Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin

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Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin finished off championship seasons at the World Cup Finals on Sunday, leading to wonder what records they’ll chase next winter and going toward the 2018 Olympics.

Start with Vonn, who in her return from two major knee surgeries broke the women’s record for career World Cup wins (she’s at 67 now) and tied the overall record for World Cup season titles (19).

Next season, the 30-year-old’s sights are set on vying for the overall World Cup title. Vonn finished third in the overall standings this year, with 1,087 points, well behind repeat winner Anna Fenninger (1,553) and Tina Maze (1,531).

Vonn, a four-time World Cup overall champion from 2008-2012, may not have to worry about Maze next year. The 31-year-old Slovenian hasn’t yet committed to racing another season.

But Fenninger, at just 25, appears a dominant threat for years to come. The Austrian is capable of winning races in downhill, super-G, giant slalom and super combined.

Vonn, meanwhile, beat Fenninger in downhill and super-G this season but did not finish better than fifth in three giant slalom starts.

If Vonn can improve her giant slalom, overtake Fenninger and capture her fifth World Cup overall title in 2016, she will move one behind retired Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell‘s record for career overall titles. She will also become the oldest women’s overall champion.

Vonn can also grab her eighth downhill season title next year, which would tie the record for most titles in one discipline. That mark is held by retired Swede Ingemar Stenmark.

Stenmark also holds the overall World Cup career wins record of 86. Vonn is 19 wins shy of that. She had eight victories this season, and if she continues on that pace, she will reach 86 during the 2018 Olympic season.

In 2018, Vonn could become the oldest women’s Olympic Alpine skiing medalist ever.

Like Vonn, Shiffrin will want to branch out next season. She’s been the world’s best slalom skier for three years and improved her giant slalom in the same stretch to finish third in that discipline’s standings this season.

No woman has captured both the giant slalom and slalom World Cup season titles since Swede Anja Paerson in 2004. Shiffrin could break that drought, but she will have to go through Fenninger and perhaps Vonn to do it.

If Shiffrin feels confident enough in her slalom and giant slalom, she may attempt to make her World Cup debut in the super-G. The 20-year-old hoped to this past season, even starting twice in lower-level super-Gs in Colorado, but abandoned the plan while in an early season slalom slump.

If Shiffrin can dominate slalom and giant slalom and contend in super-G, she will become a greater World Cup overall threat. She placed fourth in the overall standings this season, 51 points behind third-place Vonn.

Shiffrin will be heavily favored to take her fourth straight slalom season title in 2016. The record for season slalom titles is six, held by retired Swiss Vreni Schneider.

At the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics, Shiffrin could become the first Alpine skier — man or woman — to repeat as slalom gold medalist.

Also in 2018, Shiffrin, Vonn and Julia Mancuso all could have chances to become the first U.S. women’s Alpine skier to win gold medals in multiple Olympics.

Anna Fenninger wins World Cup overall title in tight finish

Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis eyeing Grand Slam record

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Serena Williams travels with “like 50 masks” and has been a little bit of a recluse since early March and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t have full lung capacity, so I’m not sure what would happen to me,” Williams said Saturday, two days before the start of the WTA’s Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky., her first tournament since playing Fed Cup in early February. “I’m sure I’ll be OK, but I don’t want to find out.”

Williams, 38, has a history of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms. She faced life-threatening complications following her Sept. 1, 2017, childbirth that confined her to a bed for six weeks. She said her daily routine was surgery and that she lost count after the first four.

More recently, Williams enjoyed “every part” of the last six months at home in Florida, her longest time grounded since her teens.

“I’ve been a little neurotic, to an extent,” on health and safety, she said. “Everyone in the Serena bubble is really protected.”

Williams is entered to play next week in Lexington and at consecutive tournaments in New York City later this month — the Western & Southern Open and U.S. Open, the latter starting Aug. 31.

Williams is the highest-ranked player in the Lexington field at No. 9. Others include 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, older sister Venus Williams and 16-year-old Coco Gauff.

She has been bidding ever since having daughter Olympia to tie Margaret Court‘s record 24 Grand Slam singles titles, albeit many of Court’s crowns came before the Open Era and, notably at the Australian Open, against small fields lacking the world’s best players. Williams reached the last two Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals, losing all of them.

She showed her seriousness in committing early to this year’s U.S. Open by installing a court at home with the same surface. Three of the top 10 female singles players already said they will skip the U.S. Open due to travel and/or virus concerns, including No. 1 Ash Barty.

“Tennis is naturally a socially distanced sport, so it was kind of easy to go back and just walk on my side of the court and have my hitter walk on his side of the court,” Williams said.

The French Open starts two weeks after the U.S. Open ends. Williams was asked if she will fly to Europe for tournaments this autumn.

“I see myself doing it all, if it happens,” she said.

The Tokyo Olympics are too far away to make plans.

“We’ll have to kind of wait to see what happens in the fall,” she said. “One thing I have learned with this pandemic is don’t plan.”

MORE: Past U.S. Open champions get wild cards

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Conseslus Kipruto tests positive for coronavirus, canceling world-record bid

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Conseslus Kipruto, the Olympic and world 3000m steeplechase champion, tested positive for the coronavirus without symptoms, which will keep him from a world-record chase on Friday, according to his social media.

The Kenyan was to race in the first in-person Diamond League meet of the year in Monaco on Friday.

“Our World is going through a challenging period and we all have to take our responsibilities,” was posted. “Unfortunately my covid-19 test, as part of the Monaco-protocol, came back positive and therefore I can’t be part of the Monaco Diamond League.

“I don’t have any symptoms and I was actually in great shape. I was planning to go for the WR: it has stayed too long outside Kenya. As the World & Olympic Champion I feel strongly its something I should go for as well.”

Kipruto, 25, is the 14th-fastest steepler in history with a personal best of 8:00.12. The world record is 7:53.63, set by Kenyan-born Qatari Saif Saaeed Shaheen in 2004.

Last year, Kipruto won the world title by .01, extending a streak of a Kenyan or Kenyan-born man winning every Olympic or world title in the event since the 1988 Seoul Games. He was sidelined by a stress fracture in his left foot until opening his season extremely late on Aug. 24.

MORE: Trayvon Bromell’s road back through destruction, death

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Our World is going through a challenging period and we all have to take our responsibilities. Unfortunately my covid-19 test, as part of the Monaco-protocol, came back positive and therefore I can’t be part of the Monaco Diamond League on August 14th. I don’t have any symptoms and I was actually in great shape. I was planning to go for the WR: it has stayed too long outside Kenya. As the World & Olympic Champion I feel strongly its something I should go for as well. Wish to thank Monaco for all the work they have done and I wish them and my colleagues a wonderful competition. Athletics is back and I will be back as well. Anyone willing to organise a steeple once I can be cleared? @diamondleaguemonaco #nike #quarantine #WR #Kenya

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