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Vonn skis into sunset after 'perfect ending' to her fairytale

China Daily | Updated: 2019-02-12 09:20
China Daily

Caps stellar career with final podium appearance

Lindsey Vonn will head into retirement having overcome "serious anxiety" to bag one last medal, lauded by rivals as a supreme role model whose trailblazing success guarantees her a place in the pantheon of alpine skiing greats.

The 34-year-old American, who admitted this season that her "body is broken beyond repair", claimed bronze in Sunday's world downhill behind Slovenian winner Ilka Stuhec and Swiss Corinne Suter in Are, Sweden.

The final race of the 2010 Olympic downhill champion's 19-season career was the "perfect ending", Vonn said, adding that she didn't think her absence from the sport would leave a void as big as the one felt in athletics by Usain Bolt's departure.

"I wanted more than anything to finish strong. I didn't want to end up like Tuesday, in the fence," said Vonn in reference to the super-G.

"It was an internal battle but in the end I won with my emotions, I stayed calm and was able to execute my plan... and hang on for one last podium.

"Everyone knows my mentality at this point. I always risk everything, all the time. That's the reason why I've been able to win so much but also the reason why I've crashed so much and had so many injuries."

Among other career accolades, Vonn has claimed 82 World Cup victories, four overall World Cup titles and 16 discipline globes - a record.

She will hang up her catsuit, however, four short of Swedish icon Ingemar Stenmark's World Cup-winning record of 86.

Badgered

Stenmark was present in Are, after being badgered by Vonn "via text, in all caps, many exclamation points!"

"He's a man of few words but he's calm, friendly and kind. It meant so much to me to have him in the finish," Vonn said of Stenmark.

"He's an icon and a legend in our sport. He doesn't like the spotlight, but he deserves to have it. I was just so grateful he was there, honestly it's the perfect ending to my career."

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