After winning the gold medal in the downhill at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, American skier Lindsey Vonn hoped to maintain her title as world’s best downhill skier at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Unfortunately, a torn ACL kept her from achieving that dream, so she set her sights on the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.Lindsey Vonn/Instagram
Vonn’s legendary skiing career — which she says she owes to her grandfather — has unfortunately been plagued by injury. In 2010, she fractured her finger, she suffered a concussion in 2011, she suffered torn knee ligaments and a tibial fracture in 2013, and she fractured her knee in 2016.
As Dearly previously reported, Vonn discovered her love of skiing thanks to her grandfather, Don Kildow. She dedicated her 2018 campaign to Kildow, who hoped to see his granddaughter compete in what would possibly be her final Olympics. He passed away just months before the games in November 2017.
On February 21, Vonn attempted to reclaim her spot as the best downhill skier in the world. Unfortunately, she fell short, taking home the bronze medal instead.
In an emotional post-race interview, @lindseyvonn says that this was her last Olympic downhill and she hopes she made her late grandfather proud. #WinterOlympics https://t.co/YtEpNzDMDu pic.twitter.com/vWhKp5NSGA
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 21, 2018
Following her race, the 33-year-old skier, who remains the most decorated female Alpine skier in history, spoke with NBC Sports. Vonn broke down in the middle of her interview when talking about her late grandfather, who was a Korean War veteran:
“It’s been really hard for me not to get emotional for so many reasons especially because of my grandfather. I wanted to win so much because of him.”
With tears in her eyes, she continued by saying:
“But I still think I made him proud. My family never gives up, and I never gave up. I kept working hard, and I am really proud of this medal, and I know he is, too.”
Vonn then went on to say that she wishes she could keep going but that she’s not sure her body can take much more.Lindsey Vonn/Instagram
She told NBC Sports:
“I gave it my best shot. I tried so hard, and I worked my butt off, and I’m so proud to have competed with such amazing girls. My teammates have really supported me, and we’ve helped each other, most of us have been injured pretty severely, so I’m really happy and proud to have been competing with them and to have their support.
It’s been fun. It’s been a fun ride. […] It’s sad. This is my last downhill. I wish I could keep going. I have so much fun, I love what I do, my body just can’t take another four years. I’m just proud to have competed for my country. I’m proud to have given it my all, and I’m proud to come away with a medal.”
Vonn will participate in one more Olympic competition Wednesday night known as the combined, which is the combined times of a downhill and slalom race. Unsure of how the races will go, she told NBC that she hopes she “can pull something out of the hat.”