Lindsey Vonn, the most successful female skier in history, ended an incredible career on Sunday with an unlikely medal win at the Alpine skiing world championships in Are, Sweden. At 34, she is now the oldest person to have ever won a medal at the annual competition with her bronze in the downhill event.
"It was so fun, I was literally the most nervous I've ever been in my entire life," Vonn told broadcaster Eurosport. "I wanted to come down and be in the lead for one last time and to hear the crowd roar and to not crash."
Vonn, who has been suffering from a series of knee injuries throughout her career, had crashed during the super giant slalom (Super-G) five days ago.
As she left the finish line, she embraced Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark, the only skier more decorated than Vonn. She has won 82 World Cup races, while Stenmark, 62, captured 86 throughout his career.
Strong finish to a record-breaking career
Vonn first made international waves in 1999, when she became the first female US skier to win the slalom at the Trofeo Topolino, the prestigious juniors competition in Italy. She represented the US at the Olympics in Salt Lake City just three years later.
She is the only woman to win medals at six different world championships, has the world record for the most World Cup season titles in the downhill discipline, is an Olympic gold medalist, and is the second-best ranked skier of all time according to the World Cup organizers.
Vonn is also one of only to women, along with Austria's Annemarie Moser-Pröll, to win four World Cup overall championships.
"I'm happy that I could finish strong. I'm happy there are so many people here," she said.
es/rc (AP, AFP)