Lindsey Vonn retired after the downhill at the world championships battling pain in both of her surgically repaired knees.

Lindsey Vonn of the US in action during the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Are, Sweden, February 8, 2019.
Lindsey Vonn of the US in action during the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Are, Sweden, February 8, 2019. (Reuters)

US ski star Lindsey Vonn brought her illustrious career to a close with a hard-fought bronze at Sunday's world downhill which was won by defending champion Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia.

Vonn, the most successful women skier of all time with a record 20 World Cup titles to her name and 82 victories on the circuit, clocked 1min 02.23sec, briefly leading before slipping behind Stuhec and Swiss silver medallist Corinne Suter in the Swedish resort of Are.

While all the build-up had been about Vonn, Stuhec became the first skier to successfully defend the women's downhill world title si nce Swiss Maria Walliser (1987, 1989), with only three others having previously won twice in a row.

Vonn herself joined Kjetil Andre Aamodt (seven separate years), Marc Girardelli (six), and Aksel Lund Svindal (nine) as the only skiers to have collected a medal at six World Ski Championships.

Vonn, the US great, sported a black eye after her big super-G crash earlier in the week but was in good spirits as she waved and smiled to the crowd.

"It was OK. I was definitely really stiff out of the start. I've been having some rib problems, my rib's out," she told Eurosport television.

"It feels really bad and I am just trying to keep it loose as it tightens and really messes up kind of everything."

Vonn, who had no intention of doing the later slalom section, said Friday had been a good test for her to ski in competitive conditions.

Source: Reuters