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Which Alpine Skiing Records Does Lindsey Vonn Have Left To Break?

By Peggy Shinn | Feb. 23, 2016, 12:48 p.m. (ET)

Lindsey Vonn waves to the crowd after the women's downhill at the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup on Feb. 20, 2016 in La Thuile, Italy.

Lindsey Vonn is on a roll this year. Almost every weekend, the 31-year-old alpine skier breaks another record.

In January, she broke Annemarie Moser-Proell’s record of 36 world cup downhill wins, while also breaking the record for most wins at one venue (14 in Cortina, Italy). Vonn already holds the record for super-G wins with 27. With her third place in super-G in early February, she broke the record for most super-G podium placings, now with 43. And with a second place last week at the downhill in La Thuile, Italy, Vonn secured the season-long downhill title and became the first skier, male or female, to win 20 crystal globes.

With 10 women’s world cup races left on the schedule — and hopefully at least a couple more years in her ski career — here’s a look at more records Vonn could break.

Most World Cup Wins

During his 16-year-long career on the world cup tour, Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark set the mark with 86 world cup wins. With 76 wins to date, Vonn is in the hunt. To tie his record, Vonn must win another 10 races — and 11 to break it.

With one downhill, three super-Gs, two giant slaloms and two combined races left on the 2015-16 world cup schedule (she no longer competes in slalom), Vonn cannot surpass Stenmark’s mark this season and will have to put that goal on hold until the 2016-17 season starts up in October.

She has the best chance of winning the speed events; downhill and super-G are her strengths. Yet even winning the four remaining speed races is a stretch.

If she remains healthy and skis with the same intensity, Vonn will likely tie, then exceed, Stenmark’s 86 wins next year.

            Vonn = 76 and counting

            Stenmark = 86


Most Overall World Cup Titles

Vonn has won four overall world cup titles (2008-2010, 2012) and is in the hunt for her fifth. She is currently 23 points ahead of Swiss skier Lara Gut. If she wins the title this year, she will tie Marc Girardelli as the only skiers to have won five. Girardelli, who skied for Luxembourg, won his final overall title in 1993.

But even if she wins this year, Vonn will still lag Moser-Proell, who holds the all-time record of six overall world cup titles.

There’s always next year.

            Vonn = 4, going on 5

            Moser Proell = 6


Oldest Overall World Cup Winner

If 31-year-old Vonn prevails in the overall battle this season, she will be the oldest female overall world cup winner. Vreni Schneider holds the current record; the Swiss skier was 30 years old when she won her final overall title in 1995.

Austrian Stephan Eberharter holds this record for the men. He was 33 when he won his final overall title in 2003. Vonn will be 33 in the 2017-18 Olympic season.


Most World Cup Discipline Titles

Until last week, Stenmark held the record of most world cup discipline titles with 16 in slalom (8) and giant slalom (8).

Last week, Vonn added her latest downhill title, tying Stenmark with 16 in downhill (8), super-G (5) and combined (3). This year, she is still in the hunt for super-G. Currently, she is 79 points ahead of her nearest competitor (a race win garners 100 points, 80 points for second place, down to 1 point for 30th place).

With four large crystal globes for the overall title and 16 smaller globes for her discipline titles, Vonn now holds the record for most world cup titles (20 to Stenmark’s 19).

With super-G and the overall title still on the line, Vonn could earn 22 crystal globes and almost max out the trophy cabinet that she had constructed in her home in Vail, Colorado. The cabinet has room for 23 globes.

            Vonn = 16, going on 17

            Stenmark = 16


Most Wins In One Discipline

In mid-January, on one of her favorite downhill courses, Vonn broke Moser-Proell’s record of 36 downhill wins — the most for women. But Vonn is still shy of Stenmark, who won a record 46 world cup races in giant slalom.

Vonn must win eight more downhills to tie and nine to surpass Stenmark. She won’t do it this year. But next?

Vonn = 38

Stenmark = 46


Greatest Alpine Skier Of All Time?

The web database ski-db.com combines results from world cup, world championship and Olympic Games races and creates a “super ranking” of alpine skiers. Using a points system, ski-db.com currently lists Stenmark as the greatest alpine skier of all time, with 290.01 points.

Vonn has 277.41 points — the highest point total for the women, but 12.60 points shy of Stenmark.

According to Matteo Pacor, who runs ski-db.com, Vonn can overtake Stenmark at the end of this season if she wins the overall world cup title. (In the super ranking points system, overall titles are worth 15 points, and discipline titles are worth five points each.)

Should she win the overall title and one more discipline title, she will end the season with over 300 points.

More world cup, world championship and Olympic titles in the next two years will just bolster her lead.

* * *

For all her dominance, Vonn will most likely come up shy in setting other alpine skiing records — such as most world cup wins in one season. Swiss skier Vreni Schneider holds the record of 14 wins in one season (1989). Vonn came closest in 2011-12 when she won 12 races. So far this winter, she has won nine. Can she win six more races? Possibly, but not likely.

Vonn will also come up short in most world championship and most Olympic medals won. Christl Cranz from Germany won 15 world championship medals in the 1930s when world championships were held annually. Since the event changed to a biannual schedule, Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt holds the record with 12.

Vonn has won six world championship medals — her most recent, a bronze in super-G at the 2015 worlds. She has a good chance of winning more next year. But not six more. Alpine ski racing only has five disciplines, and she no longer competes in slalom.

Aamodt also holds the record for most Olympic medals. In four Olympic Winter Games from 1992 to 2006, he won eight: four golds, two silvers and two bronzes.

A three-time Olympian, Vonn has only won two Olympic medals — a gold in downhill and bronze in super-G at the 2010 Vancouver Games. Even among Americans, she lags in the tally. Bode Miller has won six and Julia Mancuso has won four.

In the category of most world cup podium finishes, Stenmark holds the record with 155. To date, Vonn has finished on the podium 126 times. Can she step on the world cup podium 29 more times (to tie, 30 to break it)? She will have to finish in the top three at least 14 times in the next two seasons (assuming she retires after the 2018 Olympic Winter Games). So far this season, she has finished on the podium 13 times, with more likely to come. The most top-threes she has ever scored in one season is 17.

Even if Vonn wins the overall title this year, she will likely come up shy in most overall world cup points earned in a single season. Tina Maze holds this record at 2,414 world cup points. The Slovenia skied five disciplines to earn that point total. Vonn’s highest point total was 1,980, earned in 2012, and she no longer competes in slalom.

In a test of longevity, Austrian skier Benjamin Raich currently holds the record for most world cup starts, with 441 (three more than American Bode Miller). Vonn has only raced in 364 world cups to date — 77 shy of Raich. With about 40 world cup races per season, Vonn could break Miller’s record if she races almost every race, including a few slaloms, through the 2018 PyeongChang Games. But this is a record that she likely is not interested in breaking.

A freelance writer based in Vermont, Peggy Shinn has covered three Olympic Games. She has contributed to TeamUSA.org since its inception in 2008. 

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Lindsey Vonn