Lindsey Vonn announced via social media today she is officially retiring from ski racing and will conclude her career by competing for the last time in downhill and super-G at the World Championships in Are, Sweden, on February 10.
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It's been an emotional 2 weeks making the hardest decision of my life, but I have accepted that I cannot continue ski racing. I will compete at the World Championships in Downhill and SG next week in Ă…re, Sweden and they will be the final races of my career. 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! I always say, "Never give up!" So to all the the kids out there, to my fans who have sent me messages of encouragement to keep going… I need to tell you that I'm not giving up! I'm just starting a new chapter. Don't lose faith in your dreams, keep fighting for what you love, and if you always give everything you have you'll be happy no matter what the outcome. Thank you for the amazing years, for always supporting me, and for making my job so fun. Can't wait to see some of you in the finish in Ă…re where I will give it my all one last time. Love always, Lindsey
After suffering an injury to her left knee during a training run at Colorado’s Copper Mountain in November, Vonn—who is the winningest woman in ski racing history—began her final season of racing with a rough start. Vonn had hoped to return to the World Cup circuit after taking time off to recover, but her injury proved to be too severe and painful.
“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,” Vonn said in her announcement.
Vonn returned to World Cup competition in Italy on January 20 for the first time since November, but was unable to finish her super-G run due to the pain in her knee.
Coming in to the season, Vonn was aiming to capture the overall World Cup win title from Ingemar Stenmark—who holds 86 total World Cup wins—but was unable to accomplish that goal. However, Vonn will still walk away from her storied and epic career as a champion, and as one of the most recognized ski racers of all time.
The Minnesota native will leave ski racing with 82 career World Cup victories, 34 downhill wins, 20 World Cup titles, seven World Champion medals, three Olympic medals, and one Olympic gold.
“I always say, "Never give up!" So to all the the kids out there, to my fans who have sent me messages of encouragement to keep going… I need to tell you that I'm not giving up! I'm just starting a new chapter. Don't lose faith in your dreams, keep fighting for what you love, and if you always give everything you have you'll be happy no matter what the outcome,” said Vonn.