Upcoming milestones for Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin
Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin finished off championship seasons at the World Cup Finals on Sunday, leading to wonder what records they’ll chase next winter and going toward the 2018 Olympics.
Start with Vonn, who in her return from two major knee surgeries broke the women’s record for career World Cup wins (she’s at 67 now) and tied the overall record for World Cup season titles (19).
Next season, the 30-year-old’s sights are set on vying for the overall World Cup title. Vonn finished third in the overall standings this year, with 1,087 points, well behind repeat winner Anna Fenninger (1,553) and Tina Maze (1,531).
Vonn, a four-time World Cup overall champion from 2008-2012, may not have to worry about Maze next year. The 31-year-old Slovenian hasn’t yet committed to racing another season.
But Fenninger, at just 25, appears a dominant threat for years to come. The Austrian is capable of winning races in downhill, super-G, giant slalom and super combined.
Vonn, meanwhile, beat Fenninger in downhill and super-G this season but did not finish better than fifth in three giant slalom starts.
If Vonn can improve her giant slalom, overtake Fenninger and capture her fifth World Cup overall title in 2016, she will move one behind retired Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell‘s record for career overall titles. She will also become the oldest women’s overall champion.
Vonn can also grab her eighth downhill season title next year, which would tie the record for most titles in one discipline. That mark is held by retired Swede Ingemar Stenmark.
Stenmark also holds the overall World Cup career wins record of 86. Vonn is 19 wins shy of that. She had eight victories this season, and if she continues on that pace, she will reach 86 during the 2018 Olympic season.
In 2018, Vonn could become the oldest women’s Olympic Alpine skiing medalist ever.
Like Vonn, Shiffrin will want to branch out next season. She’s been the world’s best slalom skier for three years and improved her giant slalom in the same stretch to finish third in that discipline’s standings this season.
No woman has captured both the giant slalom and slalom World Cup season titles since Swede Anja Paerson in 2004. Shiffrin could break that drought, but she will have to go through Fenninger and perhaps Vonn to do it.
If Shiffrin feels confident enough in her slalom and giant slalom, she may attempt to make her World Cup debut in the super-G. The 20-year-old hoped to this past season, even starting twice in lower-level super-Gs in Colorado, but abandoned the plan while in an early season slalom slump.
If Shiffrin can dominate slalom and giant slalom and contend in super-G, she will become a greater World Cup overall threat. She placed fourth in the overall standings this season, 51 points behind third-place Vonn.
Shiffrin will be heavily favored to take her fourth straight slalom season title in 2016. The record for season slalom titles is six, held by retired Swiss Vreni Schneider.
At the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics, Shiffrin could become the first Alpine skier -- man or woman -- to repeat as slalom gold medalist.
Also in 2018, Shiffrin, Vonn and Julia Mancuso all could have chances to become the first U.S. women’s Alpine skier to win gold medals in multiple Olympics.