Vonn holds it together to win bronze in final race
Lindsey Vonn walked off with her career haul of medals in her right hand, the gold, silver and bronze clinking together almost weighing her down.
Or was it the bulging knee braces and metal support rods inside her array of broken bones?
Whatever it was, the sound was a reminder of what Vonn, 34, has come to symbolize — an athlete who battled back from one major injury after another throughout her career to win more ski races than any other woman.
Add one more — final — comeback to the list.
Five days after crashing in the super-G — a fall that knocked the wind out of her and left her with a black eye and a bruised rib — and three months after tearing a ligament in her left knee, Vonn won the bronze medal in the world championships downhill Sunday in Are, Sweden, in the final race of her career.
“It’s not an easy thing to feel your bones hitting together and continue to push through it,” said Vonn, who no longer has any cartilage in her knees.
“I knew that I was capable of pushing through the pain one last time, and I did that. . . . Every athlete has their own obstacles, and I faced mine head on today and I conquered them.”
Vonn had been planning on retiring in December but she recently moved up her plans because of persistent pain in both of her surgically repaired knees.
Then came the super-G crash, when she straddled a gate in midair, flew face first down the mountain and slammed into the safety nets.
As soon as she exited the finish area, Vonn embraced Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark, the only skier to win more World Cup races than she did — 86 to 82.
Eventually, Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia beat Vonn and took gold, defending her title from the 2017 worlds. Stuhec finished 0.23 seconds ahead of silver medalist Corinne Suter of Switzerland and 0.49 ahead of Vonn.
Stuhec, 28, is the first woman to retain the world downhill title since Maria Walliser in 1989.
FIGURE SKATING: Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the United States captured the first major international title of their careers, winning the ice dancing competition at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Anaheim, Calif.
Chock and Bates scored 126.25 points in their free dance. They finished with 207.42 points to edge Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje (203.93). Canada’s Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier were third.
Late Saturday, Japan’s Shoma Uno successfully landed three quadruple jumps during the free skate to win the men’s title. China’s Boyang Jin finished second, and American Vincent Zhou was third.
SNOWBOARD: In Park City, Utah, Zoi Sadowski-Synnott of New Zealand and American Chris Corning were crowned slopestyle winners after the finals were canceled because of wind on the last day of the world championships.
The organizers based the medalists on the qualifying rounds.
LUGE: Olympic and world champion Natalie Geisenberger is on the cusp of winning her seventh consecutive World Cup overall women’s luge title after leading a German sweep of the medals in Oberhof, Germany.
Lindsey Vonn, 34, won a final medal in the world championships downhill in Are, Sweden. Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia took the gold.