On Monday night, women at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics competed in the downhill skiing event. One of the competitors was acclaimed American skier Lindsey Vonn, who won Olympic bronze in downhill, which was likely the last Olympic event of her career. Following her race, Vonn gave an emotional interview to NBC, in which she noted that she hoped she had made her late grandfather, Don, who passed away last year, proud during the race.
Vonn's words following her event showed just how much the race meant to her. She became tearful as she spoke with NBC about wanting to win for her grandather, saying:
It’s been really hard for me not to get emotional for so many reasons ... I wanted to win so much for him [my grandfather]. I still think I made him proud ... Our family never gives up. … I’m really proud of this medal and I know he would be too.
During the interview, Vonn also touched on the prospect of her impending retirement and expressed sadness at the idea of no longer competing in future Olympics. As Vonn put it, “It’s sad this is my last downhill. I wish I could keep going. I have so much fun. I love what I do ... I’m proud to have given it my all.”
In her race, Vonn finished behind Sofia Goggia of Italy and Norway's Ragnhild Mowinckel, who took gold and silver, respectively. According to The New York Times, Vonn did not make a major mistake in her run, but just could not catch up with Goggia.
NPR reported that Vonn said after the race that she was happy with her performance and noted that she had no regrets. As Vonn put it, "I gave it all today, skied a great race. Sofia [Goggia] just skied better than I did ... I thought I executed the line really well on the whole course, perhaps too well ... I tried too hard to stay on the perfect line. But I have no regrets."
Vonn's bronze marks the third medal of her Olympic career. She won gold in the same downhill event in Vancouver in 2010, along with a bronze in the super-G. Vonn was forced to miss the 2014 Olympics in Sochi after battling a knee injury.
The day before her race, Vonn reflected on the excitement and expectations surrounding her upcoming competition, tweeting out a lengthy post sharing her thoughts as she prepared for her (likely) last downhill race:
Tomorrow I will push out of the starting gate in what will most likely be my last Olympic Downhill race. I’m trying to enjoy the moment as much as I can and I am thankful to share this race with such amazing teammates. I know everyone expects a lot from me, and I expect even ... More of myself....however there’s only one thing I can guarantee; I will give everything I have tomorrow. Count on it.
The downhill marks the second of Vonn's three events at the PyeongChang Olympics. She took sixth in the super-G last week and will compete in the women's alpine combined event later this week.
As PEOPLE reported, Vonn noted on the Today show that she is trying to use her experience from years of competition as an advantage when competing in her events. As Vonn said, “I have a lot more experience. I’ve been through this a few times, and I’ve already won Olympic gold, so I’m not nervous ... I don’t feel the pressure, I know the routine. And I think being older gives me an advantage, so I’m not worried about the young guns just yet.”
It was certainly powerful to watch Vonn compete in her signature event at what will very likely be her last Olympics. It is clear that Vonn has put a lot of time and thought into preparing for these races and that they have enormous significance for her. Many around the world will likely be proudly watching as she competes in her final Olympic event later this week.