SAM Magazine—Park City, Utah, Feb. 1, 2019—The most successful female ski racer in the world, Lindsey Vonn has decided to retire after what will be her eighth World Championships bid in Åre, Sweden, this month.
Vonn's achievements are record-setting. She has captured an all-time record 82 women's World Cup races. She is the only American woman to ever capture downhill gold at the Olympics, and the only American woman with four World Cup overall titles.
In addition to her 2010 Olympic downhill gold and super G bronze and her 2018 Olympic downhill bronze, Vonn holds seven World Championship medals, including double gold in 2009.
In a post on Instagram, Vonn said that she will compete in the downhill and super-G in Åre, which will be the final races of her career.
"It’s been an emotional two weeks making the hardest decision of my life, but I have accepted that I cannot continue ski racing," she said.
"I have always pushed the limits of ski racing and it has allowed me to have amazing success, but also dramatic crashes. I have never wanted the storyline of my career to be about injuries, and because of that I decided not to tell anyone that I underwent surgery this past spring. A large portion of cartilage that had delaminated from my bone was removed. My crash in Lake Louise last year was much more painful than I let on, but I continued to race because I wanted to win a medal in the Olympics for my late grandfather.
"Again, I rehabbed my way back this summer, and I felt better than I had in a long time. Then I crashed in Copper this November and injured my left knee, tearing my LCL plus sustaining 3 fractures. Despite extensive therapy, training, and a knee brace, I am not able make the turns necessary to compete the way I know I can. My body is broken beyond repair and it isn't letting me have the final season I dreamed of. My body is screaming at me to STOP and it’s time for me to listen.
"Honestly, retiring isn’t what upsets me. Retiring without reaching my goal is what will stay with me forever. However, I can look back at 82 World Cup wins, 20 World Cup titles, 3 Olympic medals, 7 World Championship medals, and say that I have accomplished something that no other woman in HISTORY has ever done, and that is something that I will be proud of FOREVER!"
USST president and CEO Tiger Shaw commented, “Lindsey Vonn will be celebrated as not only the greatest U.S. female skier of all time, but as an athlete who has inspired people around the world, both in and out of the sport of ski racing, for many years. We have been so lucky to have been able to share many of Lindsey’s extraordinary achievements. On behalf of everyone in the U.S. and throughout the global ski racing community, thank you, Lindsey. You have consistently raised the bar, you have created a legacy that will live forever, and you have given us all some of the greatest memories in our sport.”