• 63°

Lindsey Vonn not obsessing over World Cup record

By Eric Willemsen

Associated Press

Lindsey Vonn doesn’t want health or history to dictate when her storied career ends.

With yet another knee injury behind her and a major record within reach, the three-time Olympic medalist is determined to retire on her terms.

Vonn is ready to return from injury and resume her pursuit of the World Cup wins record. She is four victories shy of Ingemar Stenmark’s 86 victories, making her the only skier to even get close to the Swedish great. Matching that mark is a goal for Vonn, but she doesn’t want it to become an obsession before she retires later this year.

“The record won’t define me, whether I get it or not,” Vonn told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Wednesday. “I don’t need 87 wins to be able to continue the work of my foundation, to help kids, inspire people to be healthy and active and be positive and strive to reach their dreams and goals. I don’t need that record to accomplish those things. Once I retire, 87 won’t really matter anymore.

“It’s not going to change the way I leave the sport.”

The 34-year-old will retire after the season with a long list of accomplishments. She won downhill gold at the 2010 Vancouver Games, eight World Cup season titles in downhill, five more in super-G, and has four overall World Cup championships.

She was a good bet to catch Stenmark, too, before hyperextending her left knee and spraining a ligament while training in November. She was set to return this weekend, but the downhill and super-G in St. Anton, Austria, were canceled because of heavy snowfall. Vonn had hoped to use St. Anton as a stepping stone to the speed events in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, on Jan. 19-20.

Vonn injured the knee a week before her scheduled first race in Lake Louise, Alberta. She had planned to retire after this season, but now plans to compete at Lake Louis once more in November 2019.

“My knee feels really good, surprisingly a lot better than I thought,” Vonn said. “I was on crutches for a while, and it just took a bit to get the strength back. I feel really strong when I am skiing and don’t feel any pain in my left knee.”

Vonn’s right knee is permanently damaged from previous crashes, and she wears braces on both legs. The 34-year-old has had to fight back from injuries many times: torn ACLs, fractures near her left knee, broken ankle, sliced right thumb, a concussion and more. She’s limited now to about three runs per day, and her achy body can’t handle the workload of other skiers.

“Unfortunately, my body can’t take it anymore. I had too many surgeries,” Vonn said. “It’s pretty painful to ski every day.

“I want to be able to ski with my kids one day, and I want to be able to be active and not be in pain all the time,” she added. “I am in the last 50 meters of my marathon career and I am fighting my way until the end and I am not giving up. But at the same time, I know where the finish line is, and that is Lake Louise next year.”

Her final tour includes next month’s World Championships in Are, Sweden. She has rented a house and will invite family and friends to the Swedish resort where she won her first medals at a major event — two silvers in both downhill and super-G at the 2007 worlds.

“And Stenmark is Swedish,” she said with a laugh. “I have a couple of more races after that, but it would close the circle on the big championships.”

Vonn recognizes that she’s close to “a very meaningful record.” She just isn’t going to let it sway her plans.

“I never expected to be in this position,” she said. “I didn’t grow up thinking, ‘Oh, I want to beat Stenmark’s record.’ I wanted to be the best ski racer in the world, and I wanted to win the Olympics. I think I have pretty much done that.”

___

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Comments

News

Man killed by deputy recalled as storyteller, jokester

News

Rowan’s Sen. Ford backs ‘Election Integrity Act’ to move up absentee ballot deadlines

Business

Salisbury earns ranking on national list of best small cities to start a business

Crime

Supreme Court makes it easier to give minors convicted of murder a life sentence

Local

Quotes of the week

Local

Salisbury Human Relations Council offering online Racial Wealth Gap Simulation

News

Bill seeking permanent daylight saving clears NC House

News

Friends describe Elizabeth City man killed by deputy

Business

With second hobbit house now complete, Cherry Treesort looks toward future expansion

College

Catawba Sports: 2021 Hall of Fame class announced

Crime

Supreme Court makes it easier to sentence minors convicted of murder to life in prison

Local

Overton dedicates tree to longtime volunteer Leon Zimmerman

Coronavirus

First dose COVID-19 vaccinations up to 24% in Rowan County

Crime

Blotter: April 22

Crime

Lawsuit: Salisbury Police, Rowan Sheriff’s Office tore woman’s shoulder during traffic stop

Business

‘Believe me, they’ll be fresh’: Patterson Farm welcomes strawberry crop

Local

City appoints more members to boards, commissions, with 9 seats left to be filled

News

Virtual play groups the new norm at Smart Start

Local

City meets in closed session to consult with attorney on two ongoing litigation cases

Education

Summit takes art out of the classroom, into the student’s home

Education

Education briefs: Gene Haas Foundation donates $12,500 to RCCC

Business

County’s restaurant grant program dishes out funding to eight local eateries

High School

High school football: Yow out as South head coach

Education

Shoutouts