NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former Olympic downhill champion Lindsey Vonn said her fellow American Mikaela Shiffrin will easily surpass her as the most decorated woman in World Cup alpine skiing.
Shiffrin picked up her 74th World Cup victory in March in Courchevel, France, inching closer to Vonn's record 82 titles at just 27 years old, before collecting her fourth overall World Cup crown.
"She's set such an extremely fast pace in her success rate and her wins... she absolutely will break my record," Vonn told Reuters.
"She just needs to focus on herself and enjoy ski racing. My own personal experience is that when you have adversity, it makes you appreciate everything so much more. And I hope that's the same for her."
Shiffrin faced adversity at this year's Beijing Games, where she failed to add to her three Olympic medals despite competing in all disciplines, something she has struggled to explain.
After her father died in 2020, Shiffrin used the experience to encourage fans who struggled with their own challenges to carry on.
"(It's) just not a realistic expectation of any person to be able to win all the time," said Vonn, who collected three Olympic medals before retiring in 2019.
"You're witnessing someone going through a lot, obviously, with her father and with the Olympics and just everything. And I do see a level of strength that I haven't seen before."
Vonn, who hopes Shiffrin can inspire the next generation of American skiiers, was speaking at the launch of her Head Sportswear Legacy Collection in New York.
She is hosting the first fundraiser for her foundation since the pandemic, with the goal of raising educational and athletic scholarship funds for kids.
Vonn, 37, is also part of the U.S. team trying to bring the Olympic Games to Salt Lake City in 2030, after the Utah venue previously hosted the Games in 2002.
"We're actually going to talk to the IOC president in a few weeks... think we have a really strong chance of getting the Olympics back," said Vonn.
"(Getting the Olympics would) grow winter sports in the U.S. and develop a better presence all around."
(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York, editing by Ed Osmond)