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.”
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