American great Lindsey Vonn to retire at the end of ski season

CNN  — 

Lindsey Vonn, the most successful female ski racer of all time, has said she will retire at the end of the 2018/19 World Cup ski season.

The 33-year-old three-time Olympic medalist will call it a day even if she fails to break Ingemar Stenmark’s record of 86 World Cup wins.

Vonn already holds the women’s record of 82 wins and had previously said she would not quit the sport until she broke Sweden’s Stenmark’s long-standing mark.

During an event in New York on small businesses, Vonn told NBC: “If I get it [the record] that would be a dream come true. If I don’t, I think I’ve had an incredibly successful career no matter what. I’m still the all-time winningest female skier.”

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 04: Lindsey Vonn of USA competes during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women's Downhill on February 4, 2018 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. (Photo by Hans Bezard/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)
Scorching down slopes at 80 mph — this is alpine skiing
00:54 - Source: CNN

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The American had already said the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang would be her last Games. In South Korea she became the oldest woman to win an Olympic medal in any of the five Alpine skiing disciplines when she took bronze in the downhill.

Since winning gold in Vancouver in 2010, her only Olympic title, the four-time world champion has suffered multiple injuries – fractures, knee ligament tears, concussion - and undergone surgery five times.

It was a knee injury which prevented her from defending her downhill title in Sochi four years ago.

“Physically, I’ve gotten to the point where it doesn’t make sense,” Vonn added.

“I really would like to be active when I’m older, so I have to look to the future and not just be so focused on what’s in front of me.”

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Tiger Shaw, US Ski & Snowboard President and chief executive, said on the federation’s website: “The news that the forthcoming season will be Lindsey’s last is to be celebrated.

“We all have a chance to watch an incredible athlete end her glittering competitive ski racing career by writing a record breaking new chapter. That is an appropriate way to pay homage to this chapter of Lindsey’s life.”

Vonn’s first races will be in the first weekend of December at Lake Louise.