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Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Alpine skiing World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn has announced that she is planning to retire after the 2018-19 season regardless of whether or not she takes home enough further World Cup victories to break the all-time record for most World Cup wins. In order to break the record, she would need just five more victories to surpass Ingemar Stenmark’s record of 86 World Cup victories. Vonn is already enshrined in sports history as the woman with the highest number of World Cup victories, but she wanted to have the most World Cup wins overall. That said, the 33 year old athlete feels the time has come to set aside her skis.

“This is going to be my last season. Definitely retiring after this year,” Vonn said. “If I could break the record, that would be amazing. If I can’t, it has been a great ride, and I am still the most successful female. I still think that’s something to be really proud of.”

Vonn had previously stated until she would not retire until she owned the record for most World Cup wins, but her plans have apparently changed as she has begun alluding to having plans for a future without competitive skiing.

In many ways, Vonn has been the face of alpine skiing. Her numerous World Cup wins launched her into fame, and she has won both an Olympic gold medal and a bronze medal in the downhill as well as a bronze in the Super-G. In recent years, however, Vonn has had trouble with injuries that interfered with her preparations for the Olympic Games and caused her to miss the 2014 Games entirely. She has said that those injuries have played a part in her decision to retire after the 2018-19 season.

“Physically, I’ve gotten to the point where it doesn’t make sense,” Vonn said. “I really would like to be active when I’m older, so I have to look to the future and not just be so focused on what’s in front of me.”

That said, she intends to go out with a bang. Vonn plans to race every downhill and Super-G throughout the entire season, starting at Lake Louise in Alberta in December.  Whether or not she will finish her career in a blaze of glory by breaking the all-time record in her final season remains to be seen, but there is no doubt many people are watching to see if Vonn can pull off something incredible one last time.

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