In skiing, all the buzz has been about Lindsey Vonn's quest to pass Ingemar Stenmark as the most successful racer of all time.Given Vonn's early retirement through injury, Stenmark's 86 World Cup race wins set a benchmark, but probably there’s some other measure of greatness. So how about being the best in the business for eight years running?
Having said so, Austria's Marcel Hirscher is already history's best ski racer. The 29-year-old has 68 wins and counting and is closing in on an inconceivable eighth straight World Cup overall crown -- for the skier who gathers the most points across all disciplines over the season.
While Hirscher's name may not surpass skiing in the way that Vonn has -- for any number of cultural and sociological reasons, he deserves to be known to the world as one of the sport's greatest exponents.
"I would place him in same range as Stenmark," Peter Schrocksnadel, veteran head of the Austrian Ski Federation, told CNN Sport in Kitzbuhel at the annual Hahnekamm races in January.
"He could make it (the record) -- maybe he doesn't want to make it -- but I think he's in that range. At least."
Hirscher, like Stenmark, is a pro when it comes to technicality, reaching heights in the rhythmic dance of slalom and giant slalom rather than the ruthless power and bravado of the speed events.
His keeps his calm under pressure, and his ability to find speed even on the most intricate of courses is startling. His closest rival in recent seasons, Henrik Kristoffersen, can attest to the almost supernatural power of Hirscher's second-run charges.This season he has again been phenomenal, trading often triumphs with fellow phenom Mikaela Shiffrin, who could yet eclipse everybody.
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