Days after Lindsey Vonn announced she would be retiring from skiing due to devastating injuries, the 34-year-old Olympic gold medalist suffered an upsetting crash during one of the final races of her legendary career.
As the Associated Press reports, Vonn crashed on Tuesday while competing in the super-G race at the World Championships in Sweden. While skiing, she ended up hitting a gate midair and crashing into the safety nets. Thankfully, Vonn was able to get up and ski down the hill after receiving medical attention, and she tweeted about adversity afterward.
Austrain racer Nicole Schmidhofer told the AP, “Everyone was screaming as she crashed jumping through the gates. That’s Lindsey. She [goes] 100 percent or nothing. That’s why she has won so many races and why she’s an Olympic champion.”
The AP notes that during Tuesday’s race, Vonn lost control in the air, skied through a gate, and the panel got stuck on her boots. She then slid downhill after hitting the ground, though she was able to protect her head from hitting the snow with her hands. Luckily, Vonn was wearing an inflatable safety air bag under her racing suit, and it inflated as she fell. However, Vonn was not the only athlete to crash during the Tuesday race; 14 out of 43 athletes failed to finish the “highly technical” course. Vonn’s U.S. teammate Mikaela Shiffrin won the race.
Last week, in an emotional Instagram post, Vonn announced that she the super-G and downhill races at the World Championships would be the final two competitions of her career. “It’s been an emotional 2 weeks making the hardest decision of my life, but I have accepted that I cannot continue ski racing,” she wrote in an Instagram caption. “I will compete at the World Championships in Downhill and SG next week in Åre, Sweden and they will be the final races of my career.”
The Minnesota-born athlete, who has competed in four Olympics and won a number of medals throughout her career, further explained in her post that she has suffered debilitating injuries that she tried to keep secret. In the spring, she had surgery to remove a large portion of cartilage from her bone, and a November crash led to significant knee injuries.
“My body is broken beyond repair and it isn’t letting me have the final season I dreamed of. My body is screaming at me to STOP and it’s time for me to listen,” Vonn wrote last week.