Ker Robertson/Getty Images (CNN) – When you’re the best it can be tough coming to terms that you’re probably no longer the best — even more so when you’re suffering a lot of physical pain.
Lindsey Vonn is at a watershed moment. She’s sad her glittering ski career is coming to an end, but as she looks back on her career and forward to what the future might hold, Vonn has become increasingly fearful of the onset of arthritis should she race on to try to become the most successful skier ever.
The 34-year-old American needs five more wins on the World Cup circuit to beat Ingemar Stenmark’s record of 82, but she is adamant this will be her final season whatever.
"I want to be able to walk without pain when I’m older and hopefully some day I’ll be able to ski with my kids and that’s important to me," Vonn told CNN’s Alpine Edge in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.
Vonn will return for a one-off appearance at her favorite Lake Louise, Canada venue in November, but she insists she won’t be tempted to carry on should she be on the cusp of the record.
"I’ve extended my career probably longer than I should have already but I’m finally succumbing to what my body has been telling me for a while. That’s why I can’t keep going," she said.
"There will be long-term effects — I will have arthritis, I will have joint pain, I will have a lot of pain in a lot of different places, but I still want to finish on my own terms."
Vonn has been plagued with injuries throughout her career, and was only able to begin her farewell season Friday — placing 15th while wearing two knee braces in a downhill in Cortina — after damaging her knee in October.Even […]
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