Vonn backs Shiffrin to eclipse World Cup record in two years
Lindsey Vonn has backed Mikaela Shiffrin to break her FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup win record within the next two years after already amassing 56 victories.
Vonn became the most-successful female skier of all-time in 2015 when she moved past Annemarie Moser-Proll with back-to-back wins in Cortina d'Ampezzo, the 62nd and 63rd triumphs of her career.
She went on to take the top spot on a World Cup podium another 19 times, leaving her four short of overall record holder Ingemar Stenmark on 82.
Vonn's dreams of eclipsing Stenmark's 86 wins were hampered by persistent injury problems, the American forced to retire following her downhill bronze at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Are this month.
She does not expect to sit top of the list of women's race winners for long, though, with Shiffrin closing all the time as the 23-year-old excels in all six disciplines.
"Not very long," said Vonn when asked how long it will be before Shiffrin eclipses her. "Maybe a year-and-a-half [to] two years.
"She's on a pretty incredible pace, but I think that's the great thing about records, that you continue to push other people to strive to [reach] new levels and to achieve even greater things.
"I'm really happy for her that she's been able to have so much success at such a young age, I think it's great for America and our sport, I hope that she continues to do so and set a whole new list of records that the next young girl can hopefully aspire to achieve."
Vonn was speaking at the Laureus World Sports Awards where she received the Spirit of Sport accolade, an honour that recognises individuals who refuse to accept defeat in the face of adversity.
The award came just over a week after the final race of Vonn's career, which she believes will live long in the memory.
She added: "Yes [it was important to finish with a medal]. Of course, that was my goal.
"The last few weeks went so poorly and I was in so much pain that I didn't know if the ending to my career would be the way I wanted it to be.
"I knew that I wasn't going to break [Stenmark's] record but at least I wanted to get on the podium one last time.
"I think I was very lucky to be able to do that. Given my situation I don't think it could have gone any better than it did. I definitely pushed myself to my limit it my last race, and I'm glad that my last effort paid off."
It will not eclipse her sole Olympic triumph as the zenith of her illustrious career, though.
"I think my Olympic gold medal in Vancouver was the highlight of my career for obvious reasons but also because I skied on the limit the entire way down," said Vonn.