Shattered knees be damned, Lindsey Vonn left on her terms—upright and on the podium.
So many snapshots of Vonn’s career are of her battered and broken, scary crashes that robbed her of the chance for even more Olympic medals and more World Cup victories. Even earlier this week when a crash in the Super-G left her with a black eye and a bruised rib.
But despite that bruised rib, Vonn didn’t wince yesterday afternoon when she raised her hands in triumph from the podium—nor did that black eye take away from the wide smile spread wide across her face.
Forced to bring a sooner-than-expected end to her career, Vonn pushed aside the pain for one last, great run—winning the bronze medal in the downhill at the world championships Sunday.
Injuries might have dictated the when of her retirement , but she decided the how.
“I’m going to put this next to the gold medals,” Vonn told NBC after the race in Are, Sweden. “This, to me, was, an incredible race. I fought with my heart the whole way down.”
And that, even more than the records, is what defines Vonn.
Vonn will go down as one of the greatest ski racers ever, male or female. Her 82 World Cup victories are second only to the 86 of Ingemar Stenmark and she is an Olympic champion, having won gold in the downhill at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. Her eight downhill titles are a record, and her four overall titles are most by an American.
At just 34-years-old, we’ve been cheated out of some incredible skiing.
Source: USA Today