Skier Lindsey Vonn is the all-time leader in women’s World Cup wins. She chose to retire from skiing gracefully as an athlete of considerable precision and skill.
But that retirement hasn’t come without a few snags.
Vonn took to Instagram to share a photograph of the aftermath of a crash on a training run for the final competition of her career.
She’d earlier crashed in the super-G at the world championships Tuesday, an accident that left fans across the globe with their mouths agape.
Here’s the footage of that particular accident, just in case you were wondering.
Despite this latest bump in the road, Vonn appears to have kept her sense of humor intact.
“The aftermath of our crashes from yesterday. Can’t wait to see what color they turn tomorrow!”
She captioned her post with the hashtag #youshouldseetheotherguy.
Vonn’s many fans were quite supportive, as you might expect.
Vonn’s a trooper, however.
“Two or three minutes before in the starting gate, my rib kind of popped out,” Vonn told NBC Sports’ Andrea Joyce of the latest accident.
“I definitely did not push hard out of the start, and the upper part [of the course] was kind of weird. In general, I think the bottom was really good and I’m glad I was able to get back out there today.”
Speaking to The Associated Press, she said the rib issue affects “moving in general,” but that past rib problems have given her insight into how to “fix it before I have to ski.”
The two accidents themselves came just days after Vonn formally announced she would retire as the most successful female skier in world history, with a record 82 World Cup victories.
“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,” she wrote in part.
“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!”
View this post on Instagram
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 Åre, 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 Åre where I will give it my all one last time. Love always, Lindsey
Vonn’s crash video at the super-G only endeared her even further to her contemporaries in the field of alpine skiing.
“Everyone was screaming as she crashed jumping through the gates,” Austrian racer Nicole Schmidhofer said on February 5, the day of the super-G.
“That’s Lindsey. She [goes] 100 percent or nothing. That’s why she has won so many races and why she’s an Olympic champion.”
In a piece for FiveThirtyEight, writer Neil Paine sums up Vonn’s impressive career:
“When Vonn was a young girl, an encounter with American gold-medalist Picabo Street at an autograph session changed the course of her life, setting her down a path toward skiing glory. Now that her career is coming to its end, Vonn is leaving U.S. skiing in the hands of a new generation, one spearheaded by Shiffrin. That legacy will last even if the records are broken and the rankings surpassed.”
That’s never been clearer than now.
Well done, Miss Vonn.