U.S. Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn retired from ski racing on Sunday after winning a bronze medal at her final race at the World Championships in Sweden, leaving the sport as a legend who has won more medals than any other female skier in history.
Vonn, 34, had announced earlier this month that she would be retiring from skiing after competing in the World Championships. In an emotional Instagram post, Vonn explained that she could no longer justify competing due to debilitating injuries sustained in crashes throughout her career. “My body is broken beyond repair and it isn’t letting me have the final season I dreamed of,” Vonn wrote in the post. “My body is screaming at me to STOP and it’s time for me to listen.”
Despite her injuries, Vonn still competed in the World Championships as promised, but she suffered a crash while competing in the super-G race on Tuesday. In the race, she hit a gate midair and crashed into the safety nets. But on Sunday, in the final race of her career, Vonn won the downhill bronze — the fifth time she has won a downhill medal, CNN reports.
“I laid it all on the line. That’s all I wanted to do today,” Vonn said on Sunday, according to NPR. “I have to admit I was a little bit nervous, probably the most nervous I’ve ever been in my life. I wanted to finish strong so badly.”
With that, Vonn’s record-breaking career as a ski racer officially came to a close; with Sunday’s win, she became the first female skier to medal at six separate world championships, NPR notes. The Minnesota native is the most successful female alpine skier in U.S. history, one of the most decorated ski racers in the entire world, and she now retires as the female skier who has won the most World Cup races. On top of that, Vonn has also won a number of World Championship medals and three Olympic medals (including one gold).
It’s unclear what’s next for the athlete. Vonn said at a press conference in Sweden last week, “I’ll miss that wonderful sensation of speed that you can get only by racing down a hill on a pair of skis. I don’t know yet how I will compensate for that, because I won’t be able to do it skiing privately without my ski pass being taken away from me.”