Lindsey Vonn wants to race men, retire in 2019

Lindsey Vonn
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Before she retires, Lindsey Vonn wants to break the overall World Cup wins record (possibly in the next year), compete in the Olympics one more time in 2018 and race against men in the 2018-19 season.

“The goal is definitely to make it to the next Olympics in South Korea in 2018, so that’s two more seasons, but I’m really hoping for three seasons, and I’ll tell you why,” Vonn said in an ESPN Radio interview that aired Monday. “It’s because, in my final season, I would like to race against the men in one race.”

Vonn, who is 10 wins shy of the World Cup record of 86, had her bid to race against men on her favorite course, Lake Louise in Canada, denied by the International Ski Federation in November 2012. The federation said “that one gender is not entitled to participate in races of the other.”

Vonn had to put that fight on hold as she dealt with crashes and major knee injuries and surgeries in 2013 and 2014, but since returning a little more than a year and a half ago, she has said she still hopes to race against men.

“In places where it makes sense, like Lake Louise, where I’ve had a lot of success and I feel very confident there, I would definitely like to race with the men still,” she said in December 2014, “but right now, my form isn’t quite good enough. I need more training and more competitions in order to really be confident in saying I want to race with the men.”

Vonn has been on a World Cup tear after those comments, winning 15 more races to move within striking distance of Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark‘s victories record next season.

“We’ve started the process of trying to figure out how [racing against men] can be accomplished,” Vonn, whose 2015-16 season was cut short by a Feb. 27 crash that left her with three significant left knee fractures (but no surgery), said in the radio interview published Monday. “It’s going to be definitely a hard thing to get done with all the ski federations and everything involved, but that’s my goal. … I’m hoping by like three years I could probably figure out how to accomplish that, fingers crossed.

“My final hurrah. Beat some boys and then call it a day.”

Whether Vonn makes it to the 2018-19 season, when she will be 34 years old, is largely dependent on her health, especially her knees.

“Eventually it will get to the point where, physically, there will only be one decision left to make,” she said in the radio interview. “So I have to just be prepared for that. I just hope it doesn’t come too soon.”

MORE: Vonn details ‘excruciating pain’ in season-ending crash

Ilia Malinin wins U.S. Figure Skating Championships despite quadruple Axel miss

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One year ago, Ilia Malinin came to the U.S. Championships as, largely, a 17-year-old unknown. He finished second to Nathan Chen in 2022 and was left off the three-man Olympic team due to his inexperience, a committee decision that lit a fire in him.

After the biggest year of change in U.S. figure skating in three decades, Malinin came to this week’s nationals in San Jose, California, as the headliner across all disciplines.

Though he fell on his quadruple Axel and doubled two other planned quads in Sunday’s free skate (the most ambitious program in history), he succeeded the absent Chen as national champion.

Malinin, the world’s second-ranked male singles skater, still landed two clean quads in Friday’s short program and three more Sunday. He totaled 287.74 points and prevailed by 10.43 over two-time Olympian Jason Brown, a bridge between the Chen and Malinin eras.

“This wasn’t the skate that I wanted,” said Malinin, who was bidding to become the second man to land six quads in one program after Chen. The Virginia chalked up the flaws at least partially to putting more recent practice time into his short program, which he skated clean on Friday after errors in previous competitions.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Results

Brown, a 28-year-old competing for the first time since placing sixth at the Olympics, became the oldest male singles skater to finish in the top three at nationals since Jeremy Abbott won the last of his four titles in 2014. As usual, he didn’t attempt a quad but had the highest artistic score by 9.41 points.

Brown’s seven total top-three finishes at nationals tie him with Chen, Michael WeissBrian Boitano, David Jenkins and Dick Button for the second-most in men’s singles since World War II, trailing only Todd Eldredge‘s and Hayes Jenkins‘ eight.

“I’m not saying it’s super old, but I can’t train the way I used to,” Brown said after Friday’s short program. “What Ilia is doing and the way he is pushing the sport is outstanding and incredible to watch. I cannot keep up.”

Andrew Torgashev took bronze, winning the free skate with one quad and all clean jumps. Torgashev, who competed at nationals for the first time since placing fifth in 2020 at age 18, will likely round out the three-man world team.

Japan’s Shoma Uno will likely be the favorite at worlds. He won last year’s world title, when Malinin admittedly cracked under pressure in the free skate after a fourth-place short program and ended up ninth.

That was before Malinin became the first person to land a quad Axel in competition. That was before Malinin became the story of the figure skating world this fall. That was before Malinin took over the American throne from Chen, who is studying at Yale and not expected to return to competition.

Malinin’s next step is to grab another label that Chen long held: best in the world. To do that, he must be better than he was on Sunday.

“You always learn from your experiences, and there’s always still the rest of the season to come,” he said. “I just have to be prepared and prepare a little bit extra so that doesn’t happen again.”

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Mark McMorris breaks Winter X Games medals record; David Wise wins first title in 5 years

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Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris broke his tie with American Jamie Anderson for the most Winter X Games medals across all sites, earning his 22nd medal, a slopestyle gold, in Aspen, Colorado.

On the final run of Sunday’s contest, McMorris overtook Norway’s Marcus Kleveland with back-to-back 1620s on the last two jumps. McMorris’ last three Aspen slopestyle titles were all won on his final run (2019, 2022).

“It’s something I never thought would ever come to me as a kid from Saskatchewan,” McMorris, 29, said on the broadcast. “Everything’s just been a bonus since I became a pro snowboarder.”

In a format introduced three years ago, athletes were ranked on overall impression of their best run over the course of a jam session rather than scoring individual runs.

McMorris won his record-extending seventh X Games Aspen men’s slopestyle title, one day after finishing fourth in big air.

“It just keeps getting crazier because I keep getting older,” he said. “People just keep pushing the limits, pushing the limits. Last night was such a downer, almost bums me out, like, dude, do I still have it? … To have one of those miracle wins where you do it on the last run and someone makes you push yourself, those are the best feelings.”

McMorris won slopestyle bronze medals at each of the last three Olympics and reportedly said last February that he was planning to compete through the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games.

Canadian Max Parrot, the 2022 Olympic slopestyle champion, is taking this season off from competition.

Anderson, a two-time Olympic snowboard slopestyle champion, is expecting her first child.

Later Sunday, American David Wise earned his first major ski halfpipe title since repeating as Olympic champion in 2018. Wise landed back-to-back double cork 1260s to end his winning run, according to commentators.

“I wouldn’t still be out here if I didn’t think I had a chance,” Wise, 32 and now a five-time X Games Aspen champ, said on the broadcast. “I’m not going to be the guy who just keeps playing the game until everybody just begs me to stop.”

U.S. Olympian Mac Forehand won men’s ski big air with a 2160 on his last run, according to commentators. It scored a perfect 50. Olympic gold medalist Birk Ruud of Norway followed with a triple cork 2160 of his own, according to commentators, and finished third.

Canadian skier Megan Oldham added slopestyle gold to her big air title from Friday, relegating Olympic champion Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland to silver.

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