ARE, Sweden — One of the hallmarks of Lindsey Vonn’s career has been the way she bounces back from major crashes time and time again.
So perhaps it’s fitting that the most successful female skier of all time will enter her last race before retiring following yet another tumble into the safety netting.
Vonn straddled a gate midair during the super-G at the world championships Tuesday and ended up sliding down the hill face-first.
Mikaela Shiffrin, who won the race, went right before Vonn. Upon seeing Vonn’s crash, Shiffrin looked away from the big video screen in the finish area. Sofia Goggia, who took silver, clasped her helmet with both hands, and the crowd gasped. One American fan appeared to be crying.
Vonn quickly got up after the fall and skied down the hill under her own power after being medical personnel tended to her. Then she sat and happily answered reporters’ questions during a half-hour news conference.
“I’ve got a bit of a shiner. I feel like I’ve been hit by an 18-wheeler, but other than that, I’m great,” Vonn said with a laugh. “My knees are the same as they were before the race. I think my neck’s going to be sore. I got the wind knocked out of me, my ribs are oddly sore. It’ll be fine. Sunday will be great.”
Photo: Alexis Boichard/Agence Zoom / Getty Images
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Vonn, 34, the all-time leader in women’s World Cup wins, announced last week that she will retire after racing the super-G and downhill at the worlds — meaning that Sunday’s downhill is her final race.
“Don’t count me out,” Vonn said. “I’ve got one more chance. Maybe I’ll pull off a miracle, maybe I won’t. … I’m going to try my hardest. Just because I get knocked down, it doesn’t mean I don’t get back up.”
Vonn’s long history of crashes has included frightful falls at the 2006 Turin Olympics and 2013 worlds and injuries to virtually every part of her body — from a concussion to a sliced thumb to a bruised shin. She invariably has bounced back by winning titles and medals.
Vonn’s legs are so battered that she will have knee surgery for the seventh time soon after she retires — to repair the left knee ligament she tore during training in November.
“I need complete reconstruction. That will be fun. Hopefully, my last surgery,” Vonn said.
“I’m screwed. I’ve known that for three years now. It’s only a matter of time. The analogy I was given was, I only have a certain amount of steps left. And I’ve run out of steps at this point. I know I’ll have pain for the rest of my life, but I wouldn’t change it. … I’ve got no cartilage, no meniscus. I’ve got rods and plates and screws. There’s a lot going on. My head is still good, that’s all I need.”
Andrew Dampf is an Associated Press writer.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Lindsey-Vonn-crashes-in-penultimate-race-but-13592289.php.