Lindsey Vonn may be the best female skier of all time, but she won’t be skiing much longer. Although the three-time Olympic medalist said at the Pyeongchang Winter Games that she wouldn’t retire until she breaks the record for World Cup victories, Vonn told reporters Thursday that the 2018-19 season will be her last.
As NBC Sports reported, the 33-year-old Team USA icon revealed at a Manhattan conference that she still has her sights set on Ingemar Stenmark’s record of 86 wins and considered skiing through the 2019-20 season but ultimately decided that one more round of competition is enough for her body.
“If I get (the record), that would be a dream come true,” she said. “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. Physically, I’ve gotten to the point where it doesn’t make sense. 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.”
Vonn’s words contrast with her comments in South Korea, where she said she’d continue “no matter how much pain I’m in” to break Stenmark’s record. But she also said at that time “it would be difficult” to continue for more than one additional season after enduring various injuries during her career. She suffered a torn ACL and MCL as well as a tibial fracture at the 2013 World Championships, re-injured her knee in preparation for the 2014 Winter Olympics and broke her arm in 2016, before her 2017 World Cup appearance, among other serious injuries.
Even if Vonn is unable to top Stenmark’s record, she already owns the best women’s mark for World Cup wins with 82 in her career. She may also never race against men at the World Cup, another goal of hers, after tabling a proposal to do so this spring. But the Minnesota native has already left an unmatched imprint on skiing history, highlighted by her gold at the 2010 Olympics and her seven World Championships medals. She is one of only two women to win four world championships and one of just six to win World Cup races in all five disciplines of alpine skiing.