Ingemar Stenmark to Lindsey Vonn: ‘Don’t beat my record too early’

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Lindsey Vonn‘s top priority for the remainder of her career is to break the World Cup wins record held by Swede Ingemar Stenmark. She is at 77 victories, nine shy of the record.

Stenmark’s goal? To hold onto the record a little bit longer.

“Keep on winning, but don’t beat my record too early,” Stenmark, in an NBCSN interview at the world championships on Tuesday, said he told Vonn on Monday. “She can beat it, but not this year. Maybe next year.”

Stenmark won his 86 World Cup races between 1974 and 1989, with 46 in giant slalom and 40 in slalom. He has said he raced one downhill — the most daunting course in Kitzbuehel, Austria — and minimal super-Gs. The super-G was not run on the World Cup until a little more than halfway into his career.

Stenmark made 231 World Cup starts, according to the International Ski Federation, and raced for the last time just before his 33rd birthday. Vonn is already at 371 starts, nearing the women’s record of 408 held by retired Austrian Renate Goetschl. Vonn turns 33 on Oct. 18.

Vonn and Stenmark first met last Feb. 23 at a World Cup race in Stockholm, where Vonn’s first question to the Swede was, “How’d you do it? How’d you get so many wins?”

On Monday, Stenmark told Vonn that if she beats his record, she also must win “Dancing with the Stars,” as Stenmark did on the Swedish version of the show in 2015.

“If you help teach me to dance for the show, it’s a deal,” Vonn told him.

This season, Vonn has one win in five World Cup races since her rushed return from breaking her right upper arm in a November training crash. She can’t reach Stenmark’s record this season — there are too few races remaining.

If Vonn goes on a winning tear in the next year, she can break the record before the PyeongChang Olympics.

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