October 26, 2018 / 6:51 AM / a month ago

Vonn eyes Stenmark feat as retirement looms

FILE PHOTO: Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 21, 2018 - Bronze medallist Lindsey Vonn of the U.S. celebrates with the Italian flag during the flower ceremony. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

(Reuters) - Champion skier Lindsey Vonn has set her sights on breaking Ingemar Stenmark’s all-time mark for World Cup victories even as her career winds down to a close. The 34-year-old Vonn, who holds the women’s mark for Cup victories at 82, is closing in on the ultimate record of Stenmark’s 86 as she competes in the final season of her career.

“I definitely think I can (break Stenmark’s record),” Vonn told reporters on Thursday at the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Gold Medal Gala in New York.

“I have the opportunity this season. And if I can stay healthy, I think it’s very big possibility, but at the same time, if I don’t break the record I am not going to keep skiing.

“I have to separate those two things and make sure I am appreciating the last season, breaking the record or not.” Vonn announced earlier this month that the 2018-19 season will be her last. A three-time Olympic medallist, Vonn has enjoyed a career of triumphs and physical setbacks. She said one of her greatest challenges, though, is accepting that she would soon leave skiing behind.

“At some point you have to take a moment to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and say, ‘okay, that’s actually good enough, I don’t need anymore’,” she said.

“That’s a hard realization for me to face, and I finally accept that I have nothing left to prove. And that’s been very difficult, so I am happy I can be in the position to say that.”

Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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