Lindsey Vonn announced over the weekend that she is pushing back her retirement by eight months following the training crash and knee injury that kept her from competing at her favorite venue this week. Vonn, who said last month that she would retire after this season ends in March, now plans to race at one World Cup stop next season at Lake Louise, Alberta, traditionally held the first weekend of December.
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Vonn is five wins from breaking Ingemar Stenmark’s World Cup victory record, with 18 of her 82 triumphs coming at Lake Louise, although claims this has nothing to do with her decision.
“Whether I break the World Cup win record or not … if I don’t break it at the end of this year, it doesn’t matter,” Vonn said. “That really has nothing to do with me wanting to race in Lake Louise again. For me, Lake Louise has always been my spot. The whole point of having one last season is to have one last season, to race in every single race one last time, to make those final memories, and because I’m injured now, I can’t have that. I feel like I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t take that one last chance to push out of the starting gate in Lake Louise.”
In a video on YouTube, featuring footage of the crash which kept her out of the Lake Louise event, Lindsey explained her decision:
“I have announced already that I am retiring after this World Cup season, so to miss my favorite stop on the tour is devastating. I cried for a long time in the hospital room. I know that I will be back shortly, that I will be able to race in a few weeks, but just the fact that I’m missing Lake Louise is a huge blow for me. I was planning on racing Lake Louise, getting injured again was not part of my plan. So, as confusing as this might be to other people, to me it makes perfect sense, I’m probably going to have to come back next year and just race Lake Louise.”
In Friday’s video, Vonn said she would probably be able to compete in a few weeks, meaning she will likely miss the first six of 17 scheduled speed races this season, also sitting out downhills and super-Gs in Switzerland and France the next two weekends. The first speed races of 2019 are Jan. 12-13 in Austria.
The absence hurts her chance of breaking the World Cup career wins record of 86 held by retired Swede Ingemar Stenmark. Vonn is four wins shy and has experienced the most success at Lake Louise, winning 18 times in 44 World Cup starts.