Downhill skiing great Lindsey Vonn’s Olympic career came to a bittersweet end Tuesday at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre in South Korea. Vonn won the bronze medal, finishing behind Sofia Goggia of Italy and Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway. At 33, Vonn became the oldest woman to ever win a medal in Alpine skiing at the Winter Olympics. She had two medals in her trophy case already — a downhill gold and super-G bronze, both won at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. Injuries kept Vonn from competing in the 2014 games in Sochi.
But after her historic run on Tuesday, Vonn couldn’t hold back her emotions as she reflected on what in all likelihood is a race that capped her remarkable career. And Vonn returned to a theme she had touched on at the outset of the 2018 Winter Games: the influence her late grandfather, who died recently, had on her skiing career.
In an interview with NBC just after the race, Vonn said she would’ve preferred to take a gold medal but that winning a bronze was rewarding, particularly given the difficult injuries she overcame to reach the games in Pyeongchang.
“You know, it’s been hard for me to not get emotional for so many reasons — especially because of my grandfather. I wanted to win so much because of him,” Vonn said, her eyes welling up. “But I still think I made him proud. Our family never gives up and I never gave up. I kept working hard and I’m really proud of this medal and I know he is, too.”
Vonn went on to praise the teammates she trained and competed with, but then lamented the end of her career. “It’s sad. I wish I could keep going, you know? I have so much fun, I love what I do,” Vonn said, putting the passion for her sport on full display. “My body just probably can’t take another four years.” Vonn will race one more time at the Olympics on Thursday in the Alpine combined.
Not surprisingly, after the race, Vonn’s competitors heaped praise on the skiing legend and total class act. “She has 81 victories. I have four. Five, with this,” Goggia, who won gold in the race, quipped. “She’s unbelievable.”
Watch her interview with NBC below.
In an emotional post-race interview, @lindseyvonn says that this was her last Olympic downhill and she hopes she made her late grandfather proud. #WinterOlympics https://t.co/YtEpNzDMDu pic.twitter.com/vWhKp5NSGA
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 21, 2018
Read the full story at The Associated Press.