Lindsey Vonn secured a bronze medal in downhill at the Pyeongchang Games, and the 33-year-old doesn’t want 2018 to be her last chance at Olympic glory. But that’s likely not her reality.
During an emotional post-race interview with NBC, Vonn said she doesn’t expect a return in 2022 to be a possibility.
“It’s sad. This is my last downhill. I wish I could keep going, you know? I have so much fun. I love what I do. My body just can’t — probably can’t take another four years.”
Vonn, whose Olympics will end after the combined event, has captured one gold and two bronze medals on the biggest stage.
On the World Cup circuit, her 81 career golds rank second only to Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark’s 86. Vonn, a four-time World Cup overall champion, has said she intends to race until breaking his record.
Barring injury, though, that may happen during the 2018-19 season. And in a sport as dangerous as Alpine skiing, it’s understandable Vonn isn’t keen on racing another three years after that — especially given her history.
At the 2006 Turin Games, Vonn crashed during a training run and needed to be airlifted to a hospital. Then, a torn right ACL prevented her from competing at the 2014 Sochi Games. She’d torn the ACL previously and has also broken her ankle and arm since then.
Vonn is one of the most accomplished racers in Alpine history, but her body simply cannot take the racing punishment much longer. Earning a bronze in Pyeongchang is an admirable way to end her Olympic career.