It’s been a long, sensational run for 33-year-old Lindsey Vonn, and she’s content to leave it at that at the end of this season—come what may.
“This is going to be my last season,” she announced at this week's Chase Ink business panel in New York. “So we’ll just see what happens this year.”
Vonn’s definitive retirement date doesn’t come as a surprise—most have speculated that the coming World Cup season would be the racer’s last, following a long list of serious injuries. Vonn has continued to push through to rack up an even longer list of World Cup wins—82, to be exact, only four shy of the all-time record of 86 Word Cup career wins held by Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark.
Though not surprising, Vonn’s announcement this week does amend her statement at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics that she would not retire until beating Stenmark’s record to become the winningest alpine ski racer—male or female—of all time.
“If I could get it [the record], that would be a dream come true,” Vonn said. “If I don’t, I think I’ve had an incredibly successful career no matter what. I’m still the all-time winningest female skier.”
Just because Vonn has a final finish line in sight doesn’t mean she’s not still gunning for golds this season. If it’s even possible, she’s even more focused going into her final season. Vonn will forego starting in any giant slalom or slalom races this season to allow her to start in every downhill and Super G race on the FIS World Cup circuit calendar. First up will be Vonn’s favorite and historically most successful race event—the downhill at Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada, on Nov. 30. If Vonn manages a perfect weekend there, she could add three wins to her current 82, bringing her within one of Stenmark’s record.
Either way, the odds are in Vonn’s favor. Barring injury, she averages about seven wins per season, meaning Stenmark’s record is well within her reach in her final professional racing season.
As for what Vonn will turn to in retirement, we don’t even want to talk about that yet. After all, we’ve got one more very exciting World Cup season to look forward to.
Follow SKI Magazine's online coverage of the 2018-'19 World Cup races on our competitions and events channel. Races and coverage kick off on Oct. 27 with the ladies' giant slalom in Sölden, Austria.