The world’s greatest female ski racer Lindsey Vonn has officially retired from the sport after her final race at the World Championships in Are. Here’s a look back at her glittering career.
She made her Olympic debut at Salt Lake City 2002 as a 17-year-old, finishing 32nd in slalom and sixth in the combined slalom/downhill event.
Lindsey Kildow — as she was then before marrying fellow skier Thomas Vonn — won her first World Cup race with victory in the downhill at Lake Louise, Canada, in 2004.
In 2005, Vonn signed with Red Bull and began working with a completely new coaching team. She seemed set for the start of something special.
Any momentum from the new deal was slowed during the 2006 Olympics in Italy, though. A fall in practice resulted in a short stay in hospital. She recovered in time to compete but could only manage seventh in the Super G and eighth in the downhill events.
However, Vonn quickly bounced back and won the first of three straight World Cup titles in 2008 at the age of 23.
Golden girl Vonn achieved her Olympic dreams in 2010. She won the Olympic downhill gold at Whistler and added bronze in the super-G.
Vonn added a fourth World Cup title in 2012, but is still behind Annemarie Moser-Proell’s record of six overall crystal globes.
Vonn’s public profile went galactic when she dated star golfer Tiger Woods for two years between 2013 and 2015.
In 2013, Vonn suffered an horrific crash at the World Championships in Austria. She underwent reconstructive knee surgery and began a long road to recovery. She attempted to return a year later, only to pull out of the 2014 Olympics after aggravating the injury again.
Injuries continued to hamper Vonn. She fractured her left knee in February 2016 in a crash during a World Cup super-G race in Soldeu, Andorra, but raced the combined event the next day before calling an end to her season.
Vonn worked hard to get back in time to challenge for gold medals at the 2018 Winter Olympics. The American left PyeongChang with a bronze medal in the downhill but insisted she was proud to have made it through her injuries.
Vonn announced the current ski World Cup season would be her last. She is already the most successful woman in World Cup history with 82 victories and was chasing down Ingemar Stenmark’s overall World Cup record of 86 victories in her sights.
However, a knee injury from a training crash in November meant she couldn’t start her season until January. On her debut in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, she was still struggling with knee pain.
After much soul-searching Vonn announced that she will retire from skiing after competing in the World Championships in Are, Sweden in February 2019. “My body is screaming at me to STOP and it’s time for me to listen,” she said.
In her opening race at the World Championships, Vonn suffered a heavy crash and careered into safety netting. She was eventually able to ski to the bottom and said she would still compete in the downhill to bring the curtain down on her glittering career.
Despite her damaged knees, Vonn was able to retire on a positive note. She battled back to win bronze in the downhill — becoming the oldest woman to secure a medal at a world championships and the first female racer to medal at six world championships.
The American retired four wins short of equaling Stenmark’s record of 86 World Cup wins and the Swedish great (left) was in Are to watch Vonn’s final race. “I basically begged him to come here,” Vonn said.