The Punisher - Elite Athletes and their Epic Battles with Injury

On 1 February, American Lindsey Vonn posted an emotional message on her Facebook page. “The past two weeks have been some of the most emotionally challenging days of my life,” she wrote. “I am struggling with the reality of what my body is telling me versus what my mind and heart believe I’m capable of. The unfortunate reality is my mind and body are not on the same page. After many sleepless nights, I have finally accepted that I cannot continue ski racing.” The most successful female alpine skier in history ended her career with a bronze medal in the downhill competition of the World Championships in Åre, Sweden, less than two weeks after the post. She became the oldest woman to win a medal in a world championships and the first female racer to carry home a medal in six world championships.

“Over the past few years, I have had more injuries and surgeries than I care to admit,” Vonn wrote earlier. “I have always pushed the limits of ski racing and it has allowed me to have amazing success but also dramatic crashes.”

She underwent surgery last spring when a large portion of cartilage that had delaminated from her bone was removed. Her crash in Lake Louise last year was much more painful than she let on, she said, but Vonn continued to race because she wanted to win a medal in the Olympics for her late grandfather. Then she crashed in Copper in November and injured her left knee. “My body is broken beyond repair and it isn’t letting me have the final season I dreamed of. My body is screaming at me to STOP and it’s time for me to listen,” she admitted in her social media update.

About the Writer

Arun Janardhan is a Mumbai-based independent sports and features writer-editor.@iarunj

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