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Vail’s Vonn returns to action just one win shy of all-time victory mark

January 8, 2015, 9:56 am

Vail’s Lindsey Vonn is back in action this weekend on the World Cup circuit, seeking to tie the all-time career victory record for a female ski racer held by retired Austrian great Annemarie Moser-Proell.

Clearly fully recovered from two knee surgeries dating back to 2013, Vonn won twice last month and then spent some relaxing time at her home in Vail, free skiing with friends and training on the Raptor racecourse at Beaver Creek that will host the 2015 World Championships next month.

Lindsey Vonn

Lindsey Vonn in action last month in France (USSA photo).

However, Vonn then came down with flu-like symptoms she’s been battling during training runs for this weekend’s speed events at Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria. Vonn skied conservatively and wound up 39th – more than 5 seconds back – in Thursday’s training run.

Vonn has won nine times in Austria but never at Bad Kleinkirchheim, which is back on the schedule for the first time since 2012. Another training run is set for Friday, followed by a World Cup downhill Saturday and a super-G on Sunday.

Then the women’s circuit shifts to Flachau, Austria, on Tuesday, Jan. 13, for a night slalom – the final tech event before World Championships Feb. 2-15 and one last chance for Eagle-Vail’s Mikaela Shiffrin to add to her win total before coming home to defend her 2013 World Championships slalom gold on home snow at Beaver Creek.

Vonn is unlikely to compete in the night slalom but will have several more chances to tie and surpass Moser-Proell’s record of 62 career wins (Vonn is one back with 61).

The circuit then travels to Cortina, Italy, Jan. 17-18, where Vonn’s won six times and also enjoyed her first podium (third in DH) as a 19-year-old in early 2004. Then it’s on to St. Mortiz, Switzerland, Jan. 24-25, where she’s won four times.

Vonn is very aware of all the records, particularly the all-time women’s win mark. She even knows how many wins the best men piled up during their illustrious careers. Asked once if she could ever approach the all-time men’s mark of 86 compiled by Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark between 1975 and 1989, Vonn thought it was possible.

“I think if I average nine or 10 wins a year, it’s possible, but that is really hard,” Vonn said. “I realize I’ve done it in the past for a few years, but it takes a lot out of you. It’s possible statistically, but like I said it’s not my goal right now.”

No other men ever surpassed 60 career wins, including Hermann Maier (54) and Alberto Tomba (50). Vonn and Moser-Proell are the only women who’ve ever cracked the 60-win plateau.

One goal for the 30-year-old Vonn is improving on her already stellar World Championships medal haul of three silvers in 2007 and 2011 and two golds in 2009. She crashed and blew out her knee at the last Worlds in 2013, costing her a shot at the 2014 Winter Olympics. She is especially motivated to win a world championship on home snow, where she claimed a regular-season World Cup win on Beaver Creek’s men’s Birds of Prey course in 2011.

“2015 has been my long-term goal for many years, and I’ve always said that after 2015 I’ll reevaluate and see where I am mentally and physically and if I’m still enjoying it,” Vonn said in a previous interview.

“If I am, then I’ll keep racing, but if not that could be a good time to retire, but I don’t foresee that happening. I foresee myself competing for a long time. I think this injury has only motivated me to continue racing longer, and I feel that there’s a lot more that I have to accomplish.”

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is the editor and co-founder of RealVail.com and has had his awarding-winning work (see About Us) published in more than 75 newspapers and magazines around the world, including 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), the Anchorage Daily Press (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Boulder Daily Camera, the Casper Star Tribune (Wyoming), the Chicago Tribune, Colorado Central Magazine, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), Colorado Newsline, Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Colorado Times Recorder, the Cortez Journal, the Craig Daily Press, the Curry Coastal Pilot (Oregon), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Del Norte Triplicate (California), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Gazette, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, Explore Big Sky (Mont.), the Fort Morgan Times (Colorado), the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), the Kingman Daily Miner (Arizona), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the Las Vegas Sun, the Leadville Herald-Democrat, the London Daily Mirror, the Moab Times Independent (Utah), the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), the Montrose Daily Press, The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, the Rio Blanco Herald Times (Colorado), Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), the Salt Lake Tribune, SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Sky-Hi News, the Steamboat Pilot & Today, the Sterling Journal Advocate (Colorado), the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Health Magazine, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail, Westword (Denver), Writers on the Range and the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

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