Lindsey Vonn failed to medal in a face-off against fellow American alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin in what is believed to be her final Olympic Games. But the 33-year-old athlete isn’t letting the loss get her down — as she says her already-lengthy career is far from over.
Vonn and Shiffrin battled head-on in the 2018 Winter Olympics on Thursday morning and afternoon (Wednesday night and Thursday morning stateside) in the women’s alpine skiing combined, a set of two races in which the fastest total time determines the winner. Shiffrin earned silver, behind Switzerland’s Michelle Gisin. Although Vonn came on strong in the first of the two races, she missed a gate in the second and did not finish.
However, Vonn didn’t dwell on the loss too much as she snagged a bronze medal in the women’s alpine downhill final a day earlier.
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“I couldn’t even cry today because I was just tapped out yesterday,” she said. “I cried so much. And I thought I was fine after the race and then I got up on the podium and just — I lost it. But it was so amazing I knew that was probably my last time standing on the Olympics podium and my heart hurt. It was just so amazing.”
Although Vonn has said in the past that South Korea would mark her final Olympics, she suggested to the hosts that there’s at least a slight possibility she would return for another Games.
Now that was some VONN-derful skiing. @lindseyvonn flew during her downhill run in the women’s combined. #WinterOlympics https://t.co/4YMw63E4C3 pic.twitter.com/bAqKeWg86V
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 22, 2018
“Who knows what’ll happen in four years? It’s a long time from now, but I’m gonna soak it in as if it were my last. Maybe it’s not and maybe it will be, but I’ve given it my best shot,” the athlete said. “I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly. This has definitely been the most amazing experience for me in all of my Olympic experiences because of how amazing the team has been.”
However, she also hinted that the possibility of motherhood could alter those plans when the Today hosts noted that she made history as the oldest female U.S. alpine Olympian.
“It’s kind of weird. I think for women, we just don’t have that longevity in ski racing because it’s so hard on the body and because eventually we want to start having kids. You can’t compete and have kids at the same time — it just doesn’t work,” she said.
RELATED: Mikaela Shiffrin Wins Silver in Olympic Face-Off With Lindsey Vonn at Women’s Alpine Combined Race
Although the possibility of an Olympics return may remain in the air, Vonn said she still has some lofty goals she hopes to reach outside of the Games. Vonn has garnered 81 World Cup titles during her career, which is the most for any women in history. But she has set her sights on breaking the record held by Swede Ingemar Stenmark who has 86.
Turns out my skis got burnt out in the race yesterday. My technician thinks it happened on the 2nd gate Have to race on another pair today. Hopefully they’ll survive and stay fast the whole way down. #thatisskiracing pic.twitter.com/r8hKINANHN
— lindsey vonn (@lindseyvonn) February 22, 2018
Today I won a bronze medal that felt like gold. It was an amazing day that I will never forget. Thank you to everyone who supported me and helped me get to this point. Love you all
— lindsey vonn (@lindseyvonn) February 21, 2018
“There’s only one guy that has more wins than I do,” she told Guthrie and Kotb. “I don’t like the title ‘best female’ or ‘best male,’ I just want to be the best … that’s my next goal. I’m gonna continue to work away at that.”
When she’s not on the ice, Vonn also plans to try her hand at acting, she previously told Today. She said her actor pal Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has offered to show her the ropes.
“He said he’s going to help me after the season and I can follow him around a little bit and see if it’s really something that I would potentially be able to do,” she said.
The Olympics are airing live on NBC. To learn more, visit teamusa.org.