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Tearful Vonn says 'possibility' Cortina Super-G her final race

2019-01-20 14:51
Lindsey Vonn
Lindsey Vonn (AP)

Cortina d'Ampezzo - American ski star Lindsey Vonn said there was a "possibility" Sunday's World Cup Super G at Cortina d'Ampezzo, which she failed to finish, would be her final race.

"There's only so much my body can take," a tearful Vonn, 34, told journalists after a disappointing return from a knee injury in the Italian Dolomites where she has won a record 12 times.

"My body is inhibiting me for doing what I want to do. I'm just not able to ski the way I want to and know I can," said the former Olympic champion who competed with braces on both her knees.

"I really don't know what to think at this point. Definitely it isn't the way I had hoped that things would go. 

"I've been able to fight through a lot of injuries in my career but I think my injuries might get the better of me at this point."

Vonn, with 82 World Cup wins to her name, has set herself the challenge of overhauling Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark's all-time record of 86 World Cup wins before retiring at Lake Louise in December.

It was her final race down the Olimpia delle Tofane piste, where she took her first World Cup podium in 2004, but she admitted it could possibly be her final race altogether.

"I'm not sure," she said. 

"I'm going to give it a couple of days and make some decisions."

She had been due to compete in Garmish next week where she has won nine times - including a downhill double last season - and then on to the world championships in Sweden from February 5.

"It's more emotional than I expected," said Vonn, who finished 15th and ninth in the downhills staged in Cortina on Friday and Saturday.

"I know the end is coming but that doesn't make it easier. It's a great place for me, I have amazing memories and was hoping for more amazing memories, but things didn't go as I expected."

Vonn was comforted in the finish zone as Olympic downhill ace Sofia Goggia, one of her best friends on the circuit, gave her a bunch of flowers.

"I cried," said Vonn. "I don't expect things like that. The ski club gave me a nice trophy and made a video.

"To have that in my last race (in Cortina) means more to me."

American ace Mikaela Shiffrin won on Sunday, ahead of Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein and Austrian Tamara Tippler.

It was 23-year-old Shiffrin's 54th World Cup triumph, and just this season she has won five slaloms, two giant slaloms, three super-G's and a parallel giant slalom and may well beat the record of 14 wins in a single season set by Vreni Schneider in 1989.

Shiffrin and Vonn have both won 12 in a single season.

"I told her "congratulations and awesome skiing'," said Vonn, who won her last downhill in Cortina last January. 

"It's great that there's another American on top of the podium."

Shiffrin said: "It must be incredibly emotional for Lindsey. Her last race in Cortina and possibly her final one. 

"She has had such an incredible career, so many wins, so many emotions, all those memories coming back today.

"She's been inspiring for a lot of racers and athletes coming up in the US team and around the world."

The 29-year-old Weirather, a super-G specialist, praised Vonn who she said "has defined women's alpine racing".

"Her mentality was something you've never seen before. 

"She was never afraid to say she's the best and wanted to be the best. 

"Europeans think that's very arrogant, but she never thought about that, she raised the sport to a new level."

Read more on:    lindsey vonn  |  skiing


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