After weeks careful deliberation Lindsey Vonn has come to a decision about continuing her professional ski racing career:
The past two weeks have been some of the most emotionally challenging days of my life. I am struggling with the reality of what my body is telling me versus what my mind and heart believe I’m capable of. The unfortunate reality is my mind and body are not on the same page. After many sleepless nights, I have finally accepted that I cannot continue ski racing. I will compete at the World Championships in Downhill and Super-G next week in Åre, Sweden and they will be the final races of my career.
Over the past few years I have had more injuries and surgeries than I care to admit. 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.
At this point, arthritis is the least of my worries and I hope I can still ski with my kids some day. But even knowing what lies ahead for my body, it has still been worth it. I have always worked hard, fought back and dealt with whatever comes my way because I simply love skiing. At no point have I ever regretted my injuries, my comebacks, the therapy, the preparation and even the pain because in my mind it has always been worth it.
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! So please let my story be of comebacks, victories and even injuries, but do not tell my story as one of failures or unreached goals.
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 supporting me through thick and thin, and for making my job so fun. Can’t wait to see some of you in the finish in Are where I will give it my all one last time.
Much love to Lindsey. Will definitely be tuning in for her final runs in Åre. Cheers to a legendary career!