Vonn holds it to­gether to win bronze in fi­nal race

The Washington Post - - SPORTS -

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.

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