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Shattered knees be damned, Lindsey Vonn left on her phrases.

Upright and on the rostrum.

So many snapshots of Vonn’s profession are of her battered and damaged, scary crashes that robbed her of the prospect for much more Olympic medals and extra World Cup victories. Even this week, a crash within the Tremendous-G left her with a black eye and a bruised rib.

But it is going to be this ultimate picture of Vonn that resonates: Palms raised in triumph, a smile unfold vast throughout her face, one other medal round her neck.

Compelled to convey a sooner-than-expected finish to her profession, Vonn pushed apart the ache for one final, nice run, successful the bronze medal within the downhill on the world championships Sunday.

Accidents might need dictated the when of her retirement, however she determined the how. 

“I’m going to place this subsequent to the gold medals,” Vonn informed NBC after the race in Are, Sweden. “This, to me, was, an unimaginable race. I fought with my coronary heart the entire method down.”

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And that, much more than the data, is what defines Vonn.

Extra columns:Learn extra commentary from columnist Nancy Armour

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She’ll be remembered as one of many biggest ski racers ever, male or feminine. Her 82 World Cup victories are second solely to the 86 of Ingemar Stenmark, who was there to greet her within the end space. She is an Olympic champion, having gained gold within the downhill on the 2010 Winter Video games in Vancouver.

Her eight downhill titles are a document, and her 4 general titles are most by an American.

However it’s Vonn’s grit and perseverance that made her iconic.

There may be not part of her physique that’s been left unscathed, her catalog of accidents together with concussions, nerve injury, damaged bones in her arm, ankle and leg, and, in fact, her shredded knees. But again and again, Vonn received again up, the energy of her willpower and can unmatched.

Vonn had hoped to proceed snowboarding by means of December so she might finish her profession at her beloved Lake Louise. However the 34-year-old introduced earlier this month {that a} crash in November had left her with extra torn knee ligaments.

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“My physique is damaged past restore and it is not letting me have the ultimate season I dreamed of,” she wrote Feb. 1 on Instagram, saying that the Tremendous-G and downhill on the world championships could be her ultimate races. “My physique is screaming at me to STOP and it’s time for me to hear.” 

After crashing within the Tremendous-G, nobody would have blamed Vonn had she made her begin within the downhill a ceremonial one. Taken one final, leisurely glide down the mountain.

However Vonn has by no means achieved something midway, and she or he wasn’t about to start out now.

“Weapons ablaze,” Vonn stated in an interview earlier than the race. “All the way in which to the end.”

True to her phrase, she recovered from a gradual begin and attacked the second half of the course. She flew throughout the end line in first place, then waited to see if her time would maintain up.

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Slovenia’s Ilka Stuhec, the reigning world champion, pushed Vonn into second place. Switzerland’s Corinne Suter would bump her to 3rd. However with the solar dipping behind clouds and casting shadows throughout the course, nobody else would problem her.

Vonn’s spot on the rostrum was safe. She had defied the ravages of her accidents one final time.  

“It’s been an incredible profession, and to finish on this word … means every part to me,” Vonn stated.

“I’ve accepted the place I’m in my life,” she added. “I’m comfortable and I’m excited for the long run. I’ve cried sufficient tears and now it’s simply time to take pleasure in it.”

Lindsey Vonn may not have gained each race in her profession. However she by no means let herself be crushed, proper up till the very finish. 

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Comply with USA TODAY Sports activities columnist Nancy Armour on Twitter @nrarmour. 

This text initially appeared on USA TODAY: Opinion: Accidents be damned, Lindsey Vonn goes out on her phrases – and on the rostrum

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