Four-time Olympian Lindsey Vonn is retiring after competing in Sweden this month.

By Jenna West
February 01, 2019

Four-time Olympian Lindsey Vonn is retiring from ski racing after the world championships, she announced Friday on Instagram.

Vonn shared how she had planned to retire in December of this year but could no longer ignore pain in both of her knees. She came to the realization that it was time to end her career after knee injuries kept her from finishing a race last month in Italy.

"Despite extensive therapy, training and a knee brace, I am not able make the turns necessary to compete the way I know I can," Vonn wrote on Instagram. "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."

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It’s been an emotional 2 weeks making the hardest decision of my life, but I have accepted that I cannot continue ski racing. 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. I have always pushed the limits of ski racing and it has allowed me to have amazing success but also dramatic crashes. I have never wanted the storyline of my career to be about injuries and because of that I decided not to tell anyone that I underwent surgery this past spring. A large portion of cartilage that had delaminated from my bone was removed. My crash in Lake Louise last year was much more painful than I let on, but I continued to race because I wanted to win a medal in the Olympics for my late grandfather. Again, I rehabbed my way back this summer and I felt better than I had in a long time. Then I crashed in Copper this November and injured my left knee, tearing my LCL plus sustaining 3 fractures. Despite extensive therapy, training and a knee brace, I am not able make the turns necessary to compete the way I know I can. 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. Honestly, retiring isn’t what upsets me. Retiring without reaching my goal is what will stay with me forever. However, I can look back at 82 World Cup wins, 20 World Cup titles, 3 Olympic medals, 7 World Championship medals and say that I have accomplished something that no other woman in HISTORY has ever done, and that is something that I will be proud of FOREVER! I always say, “Never give up!” So to all the the kids out there, to my fans who have sent me messages of encouragement to keep going… I need to tell you that I’m not giving up! I’m just starting a new chapter. Don’t lose faith in your dreams, keep fighting for what you love, and if you always give everything you have you’ll be happy no matter what the outcome. Thank you for the amazing years, for always supporting me, and for making my job so fun. Can’t wait to see some of you in the finish in Åre where I will give it my all one last time. Love always, Lindsey

A post shared by L I N D S E Y • V O N N (@lindseyvonn) on

Vonn said that she plans to compete at the world championships in the downhill and super-G next week in Are, Sweden. The women's super-G is scheduled for next Tuesday, while the downhill is set for Feb. 10.

Along with her knee injuries, Vonn has also suffered torn ACLs, a broken ankle and had fractures near her left knee. 

The 82-time World Cup winner medaled in gold in the downhill and bronze in the super-G at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. She won her second bronze medal in the downhill at the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang.

"Honestly, retiring isn’t what upsets me. Retiring without reaching my goal is what will stay with me forever," Vonn said on Instagram. "However, I can look back at 82 World Cup wins, 20 World Cup titles, 3 Olympic medals, 7 World Championship medals and say that I have accomplished something that no other woman in HISTORY has ever done, and that is something that I will be proud of FOREVER!"

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