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Lindsey Vonn wants to race men, retire in 2019

Lindsey Vonn

LA THUILE, ITALY - FEBRUARY 20: (FRANCE OUT) Lindsey Vonn of the USA takes 2nd place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women’s Downhill on February 20, 2016 in La Thuile, Italy. (Photo by Alain Grosclaude/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

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Before she retires, Lindsey Vonn wants to break the overall World Cup wins record (possibly in the next year), compete in the Olympics one more time in 2018 and race against men in the 2018-19 season.

“The goal is definitely to make it to the next Olympics in South Korea in 2018, so that’s two more seasons, but I’m really hoping for three seasons, and I’ll tell you why,” Vonn said in an ESPN Radio interview that aired Monday. “It’s because, in my final season, I would like to race against the men in one race.”

Vonn, who is 10 wins shy of the World Cup record of 86, had her bid to race against men on her favorite course, Lake Louise in Canada, denied by the International Ski Federation in November 2012. The federation said “that one gender is not entitled to participate in races of the other.”

Vonn had to put that fight on hold as she dealt with crashes and major knee injuries and surgeries in 2013 and 2014, but since returning a little more than a year and a half ago, she has said she still hopes to race against men.

“In places where it makes sense, like Lake Louise, where I’ve had a lot of success and I feel very confident there, I would definitely like to race with the men still,” she said in December 2014, “but right now, my form isn’t quite good enough. I need more training and more competitions in order to really be confident in saying I want to race with the men.”

Vonn has been on a World Cup tear after those comments, winning 15 more races to move within striking distance of Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark‘s victories record next season.

“We’ve started the process of trying to figure out how [racing against men] can be accomplished,” Vonn, whose 2015-16 season was cut short by a Feb. 27 crash that left her with three significant left knee fractures (but no surgery), said in the radio interview published Monday. “It’s going to be definitely a hard thing to get done with all the ski federations and everything involved, but that’s my goal. ... I’m hoping by like three years I could probably figure out how to accomplish that, fingers crossed.

“My final hurrah. Beat some boys and then call it a day.”

Whether Vonn makes it to the 2018-19 season, when she will be 34 years old, is largely dependent on her health, especially her knees.

“Eventually it will get to the point where, physically, there will only be one decision left to make,” she said in the radio interview. “So I have to just be prepared for that. I just hope it doesn’t come too soon.”

MORE: Vonn details ‘excruciating pain’ in season-ending crash

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