Feb. 10 (UPI) — American skier Lindsey Vonn finished her illustrious career with a bronze medal in the world championship downhill Sunday in her final race.
Vonn’s victory came three months after she tore a ligament in her left knee. She also crashed in the final super-G race of her career at the Alpine Skiing World Championships Tuesday in Sweden. The wipeout left her with a black eye and bruised ribs.
Despite Vonn’s recent battles with injuries, she fought back with another strong finish to close her career.
“Of course I’m sore. Even before the crash I was sore,” Vonn said. “So I’m just sore on top of sore. My neck is killing me. But at the end of the day no one cares if my neck hurts; they only care if I win. … I knew that I was capable of pushing through the pain one last time and I did that.
“Every athlete has their own obstacles and I faced mine head on today and I conquered them.”
Vonn was the third skier on the course and had the fastest run to that point. Eventually, Slovenia’s Ilka Stuhec beat Vonn’s time and earned the gold medal to defend her title from the 2017 worlds.
Stuhec finished 0.23 seconds ahead of silver medalist Corinne Suter of Switzerland and 0.49 seconds ahead of Vonn.
Vonn became the first female skier to win medals at six different world championships and it was her fifth downhill medal at a worlds, tying the record set by Christel Cranz and Annemarie Moser-Proell.
The 34-year-old Vonn also passed her own record for oldest woman to win a medal at a world championship, which she set two years ago.
Vonn planned to retire in December, but pain in her surgically-repaired knees pushed up her retirement date. Now, Vonn will hang it up and move on to other ventures in her life.
“The nice thing is that, in the real world, I’m actually pretty young,” Vonn said. “I have felt really old for a long time, because I’m racing with girls that are like 15 years younger than me. So now, in the real world, I’m normal. Thirty is the new 20, so I’m super young. I’ve got a lot to look forward to.”