Lindsey Vonn may cut back on ski races next season

Lindsey Vonn

Lindsey Vonn, who will try Saturday to break the World Cup women’s downhill wins record (37), may ski a lighter load of races next season.

Vonn said she could drop giant slaloms from her schedule and focus on the speed events of downhill and super-G, according to reports from Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, site of this weekend’s races.

Vonn’s primary goal this season is to win her fifth World Cup overall title, which has turned into a tight battle with Swiss Lara Gut. Gut is strong in downhill, super-G and giant slalom, which puts pressure on Vonn to also race giant slalom to keep up in the standings.

Gut leads by 50 points halfway through the season, a deficit that Vonn will likely erase if she sweeps Saturday’s downhill (NBC Sports Live Extra, 4:15 a.m. ET) and Sunday’s super-G (NBC Sports Live Extra, 5:30 a.m. ET) at a Dolomites resort where she’s won nine times.

Vonn last won a World Cup overall title in 2012, one season before her 2013 World Championships super-G crash and later two major knee surgeries that kept her from defending her Olympic downhill title in Sochi.

“This year there’s a good chance, but next year I don’t know if I can keep skiing GS [giant slalom],” Vonn said, according to The New York Times. “It takes a lot of energy, and it’s hard for my old knees to continue. If I got five [overall titles], I would be happy.”

Another number that Vonn must be aware of is 86, the World Cup wins record held by retired Swede Ingemar Stenmark.

Vonn had 59 wins when she returned from the knee surgeries in December 2014 and is now halfway to Stenmark in her comeback, at 73 victories.

She will pass Stenmark during the 2017-18 Olympic season if she continues her recent pace of wins per season, so long as she stays healthy.

Of the 14 wins in her comeback, only one has come in giant slalom — in Are, Sweden, on Dec. 12. She’s already said she’s finished racing slaloms.

“I could go home in between races if I didn’t do GS,” the 31-year-old Vonn said, according to The Associated Press. “It’s less training and less stress. I could sleep in more.”

MORE ALPINE: Mikaela Shiffrin’s comeback delayed

Mo Farah likely to retire this year

Mo Farah

British track legend Mo Farah will likely retire by the end of this year.

“I’m not going to go to the Olympics, and I think 2023 will probably be my last year,” the 39-year-old Farah said, according to multiple British media reports.

Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m golds at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016, was announced Tuesday as part of the field for the London Marathon on April 23.

Last May, Farah reportedly said he believed his career on the track was over, but not the roads.

London might not be his last marathon. Farah also said that if, toward the end of this year, he was capable of being picked to run for Britain again, he would “never turn that down,” according to Tuesday’s reports.

It’s not clear if Farah was referencing the world track and field championships, which include a marathon and are in Budapest in August. Or selection for the 2024 British Olympic marathon team.

The fastest British male marathoner last year ran 2:10:46, ranking outside the top 300 in the world. Farah broke 2:10 in all five marathons that he’s finished, but he hasn’t run one since October 2019 (aside from pacing the 2020 London Marathon).

Farah withdrew four days before the last London Marathon on Oct. 2, citing a right hip injury.

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah’s best London Marathon finish in four starts was third place in 2018.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

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Kendall Gretsch wins six gold medals at Para Nordic Ski Worlds

Kendall Gretsch

Kendall Gretsch, who won Paralympic titles at the last Summer and Winter Games, added another six gold medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Sweden last week.

Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medals in seven days between biathlon and cross-country skiing.

Gretsch won gold medals in three different sports across the last three Paralympics: biathlon and cross-country skiing in 2018 (two years after taking up the sports), triathlon in 2021 and biathlon in 2022.

She plans to shift her focus back to triathlon after this winter for 2024 Paris Games qualification.

Gretsch, born with spina bifida, was the 2014 USA Triathlon Female Para Triathlete of the Year. Though triathlon was added to the Paralympics for the 2016 Rio Games, her classification was not added until Tokyo.

Also at last week’s worlds, six-time Paralympian Aaron Pike earned his first Paralympic or world championships gold medal in his decade-plus career, winning a 12.5km biathlon event.

Oksana Masters, who won seven medals in seven events at last year’s Paralympics to break the career U.S. Winter Paralympics medals record, missed worlds due to hand surgery.

The U.S. also picked up five medals at last week’s World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Spain — three silvers for five-time Paralympian Laurie Stephens and two bronzes for 17-year-old Saylor O’Brien.

Stephens now has 18 career medals from world championships, plus seven at the Paralympics.

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