Days after announcing that it was “time to say goodbye,” Lindsey Vonn seems to have again reconsidered her plans to call it quits on the World Cup slopes — for now.
Vonn, who has been battling knee issues for a number of years, failed to finish a run Sunday at a World Cup event in Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy. After the run, she told Swiss TV, “It’s time to listen to my body, and it’s time to say goodbye.” She later couched her statement by saying she was too “emotional” to make a definitive decision, but the indication was that her timeline for retiring from skiing had been moved up considerably. Vonn, 34, had said in November that she would ski into next season so that she could compete at one of her favorite tour stops that she missed due to an injury in October.
On Wednesday, however, Vonn took to Instagram to talk about this latest knee issue and what her future may hold, including saying she was “taking things day by day and we’ll see what happens.”
“After a lot of physical therapy and time to clearly think things through, we have come to some conclusions about my knee,” Vonn wrote. “First, we discovered the reason I had so much pain and muscle shut down in Cortina was due to an impact injury to my peroneal nerve. This most likely came from the final jump on the first training run in Cortina, but it’s hard to know for sure. After that training run, the pain got progressively worse each day and by Sunday my lower leg was in a lot of pain and my muscles had completely shut down.
"Now that we know the problem the next issue is fixing it. So far we haven’t found a solution and as a result I will not be able to compete in tomorrow’s downhill training run. However, since this is a new ‘injury’ per [se], I remain hopeful that we can fix it. I’m taking things day by day and we will see what happens. I know that I might not get the ending to my career that I had hoped for, but if there is a chance, I will take it. Thanks for all of the support you have shown me, it helps keep me going.”
Knee injuries have taken a major toll on Vonn, not just physically, but emotionally, in recent years. In a sport that requires durability in your legs, especially in the knees, any vulnerability in the lower body can be disastrous.
That had led Vonn, who owns the most World Cup victories for any female skier with 82, to announce in October her plans to retire at the end of the 2018-19 season. The plan was made with the hope that she could break men’s skiing legend Ingemar Stenmark’s record of 86 World Cup wins before retiring in 2019.
Then she hyperextended and sprained a ligament in her right knee in a November crash, and Vonn said afterward that she had decided continue her career into next season, at least until she competed at Lake Louise in Alberta.
Vonn began her comeback from that injury Sunday. However, it appeared the injuries that followed Vonn during her career had caught up to her for good when she failed to complete her super-G run.
But Vonn, a winner of three Olympic medals, seemingly has given fans a glimmer of hope after a few days of reflection.