Last week, Lindsey Vonn retired from skiing after winning bronze during her final race at the World Championships, due to devastating injuries suffered during crashes throughout her already legendary career. So it’s only fitting that on Monday night, Vonn was honored at the 2019 Laureus World Sports Awards in Monaco (dubbed the “Oscars of Sports”) — and received a standing ovation after receiving the Spirit of Sport award.
Vonn had announced her retirement in a moving social media post earlier this month, explaining that she “cannot continue ski racing” because, “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.” With her bronze medal at the World Championships, Vonn became the first female ski racer to receive medals at six world championships, according to CNN, and retired with 82 World Cup victories under her belt.
Accepting the award on Monday night, Vonn was moved to tears as her peers stood to recognize her achievements. “I promised myself I wasn’t going to cry anymore but you guys did it, thank you,” she said, before continuing:
It’s really weird to be retired but, you know, I’m so honored to be in this room tonight. I’ve been inspired by so many of you over the course of my career, and I think sports has a unique opportunity to change people in ways they never expected. And my comebacks have always made me a stronger person and I’m very sad to be leaving my sport but I know that because of everything I’ve learned, I can take that into the next chapter of my life and do something even more incredible. So thank you all so much for your respect and I’m going to miss it.
Vonn’s boyfriend, Nashville Predators hockey player P.K. Subban, shared a backstage snap of the emotional moment, alongside the caption, “Proud of you @lindseyvonn !! Cleared the living room shelf for your very well deserved Spirit of Sport Award!! #GOAT,” and a well-placed GOAT emoji.