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Still sore but psyched up, it's win or bust at Worlds for Vonn

ST MORITZ, Switzerland (Reuters) - Her hand is too sore to sign many autographs, and she can't tie her hair in a ponytail by herself, but U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn has the great Ingemar Stenmark firmly in her sights as she gears up for the Alpine World Ski Championships on Monday.

With 77 World Cup wins under her belt, four-times overall World Cup champion and 2010 Olympic downhill gold medalist Vonn trails the Swede by nine victories.

On Sunday she said that it was his milestone that motivates her most as she heads into the St Moritz championships.

"I definitely use the record as motivation," the 32-year-old said. "Of course I want to win, but breaking his record would be incredible and that’s what I’m working hard for."

But the looming record adds no pressure, Vonn says, adding that in a sense she's been through it all before.

"I feel like at this point I have so much pressure anyway that setting myself up it (the record number of World Cup wins) doesn’t make any difference.

"I went through this whole process when I broke Annemarie's (Moser-Proell) record of women's World Cup wins and that was an intense amount of pressure. Everyone was talking about it and talking about it and talking about it.

"I’m going to go out there and ski regardless of whether people talk about it or not. I just want to go and do my best."

Vonn fractured her right arm in a training crash in November, and underwent surgery to repair the injury.

What her best entails remains to be seen.

"It’s still a work in progress and it’s not 100 percent by any means, but it’s getting better," Vonn said in an interview to launch ‘Chasing History’ a behind-the-scenes documentary airing on Eurosport.

"I can hold a ski pole, I can shake people’s hands. I can’t quite put my hair in a ponytail yet but I’m working on it. I can do my make-up. I can’t do too many autographs as my hand gets a little tired, but I can get them done.

"I am still struggling, my hand is not working the way it should, but it’s life, you’ve got to do the best you can with what we have.

"I don’t think about my injury when I start, I think only what I have to accomplish right now, how I can ski my best, how I can win this win, what it’s gonna take. If I was thinking about injuries, my arm, my knees, I don’t think I would ever win. I probably should not be ski racing if that should be the case. You’ve got to move, put the injuries in the past."

Vonn says her best chance of victory is in next Sunday's Women's Downhill, and that she has a good chance to medal in the super-G on Tuesday.

"Anything is possible. Certainly I've won a lot of World Cup, World Championship in super-G ... I know it’s possible.

"I’d say I’m going into the World Championships excited, confident – not my most confident – but pretty confident. This is a great course for me and I’ve won a lot of World Cups here too.

"In World Championships, the only thing that matters is medals. There are no World Championship points. Fourth place is probably the worst place to be. I’m going for medals. I’m going to ski my best and I’m either going to win or go out."

(Editing by: Andrew Bolton)

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