Lindsey Vonn on her retirement decision: ‘I have nothing left to prove’

Lindsey Vonn announced earlier this month that the 2018-19 season will be her last racing on the ski slopes.

With 82 World Cup victories, the 34-year-old skier is just four short of Swedish skier Ingemar Stenmark’s record, but she will retire at the end of this upcoming season whether or not she breaks it. In sharing her announcement, Vonn told NBC Sports, “Physically, I’ve gotten to the point where it doesn’t make sense.”

Published Wednesday in an essay for Sports Illustrated, Vonn expanded on her decision to retire after this season and how she’ll have to adjust to a life without skiing, trying to answer the question: “(W)hat am I without skiing? Who am I?”

Vonn reflects on how her whole world has revolved around being the best skier and detailed the first time she truly felt pressure to win when she was 12 years old. And she explains how she knew this decision was coming sooner than later, writing:

My dad also said that there would be a time when I had enough of the sport. He’s asked me a few times after injuries if I was at that point yet and my answer had always been an immediate and emphatic, “NO!” Even after two ACL reconstructions, MCL dislocation, multiple meniscal repairs, four tibial plateau fractures, a spiral fracture of my humorous with a plate and 18 screws, a broken ankle, broken fingers and many concussions, I have never questioned my decision to keep skiing.

Throughout my career I have always strived and searched for more. More wins, more speed, more adrenaline and more challenges. That was my resolution, and how I’ve gotten this far in my career. If I had thought quitting was an option or if I had even a sliver of doubt, I would’ve never been able to make those comebacks.

In addition to her 82 World Cup wins, Vonn also has three Olympic medals – two bronze and one gold – and seven world championships.

As she mentioned with NBC Sports when first talking about her retirement decision, Vonn continued to say that she wants to have kids and be an active parent with them and hopefully be able to teach them how to ski one day.

She also thanked all of her supporters, reminding everyone she still has one more season to rack up as many wins as possible and push to break the all-time record for most World Cup wins.

More via Sports Illustrated:

Regardless of the record, I am still proud of who I am and what I have accomplished during my career. I have nothing left to prove to myself or anyone else. I am not the nervous little girl standing on top of a mountain anymore; I am a woman ready for the next chapter. I can do this! My legacy will be more than skiing and there are many chapters left to write.


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