Legendary skier Lindsey Vonn suffered a dramatic crash Tuesday during the final Super-G event of her career, hitting a gate mid-air and ending up in the safety nets at the world championships in Sweden.
The all-time leader in women’s World Cup wins was about 17 seconds into her run when she lost control.
After skiing through a gate, the panel fitted between the two poles detached and became stuck on Vonn’s boots. When she hit the ground, she slid downhill face first, using her hands to keep her head from hitting the snow. Vonn came to a stop when she hit the safety netting.
Even after the dramatic crash, Vonn got up, was tended to by medical personnel and then skied the rest of the way down the hill.
“Everybody, cross your fingers or hold your thumbs. That didn’t look like a nice crash,” said American teammate Mikaela Shiffrin, who won the race. “She went really hard into the fence. Hopefully she is OK.”
Upon seeing Vonn’s crash, Shiffrin looked away from the big video screen in the finish area. Sofia Goggia, who took silver, clasped her helmet with both hands as the crowd gasped. One American fan appeared to be crying, according to the Associated Press.
Last week, the legendary skier announced she will retire after racing the super-G and downhill at the worlds. Vonn, 34, is the all-time leader in World Cup wins with 82 and originally had planned to retire in December. However, her ailing knees contributed to her decision to retire sooner than planned.
“The reason why I decided to retire is because I can’t ski the way I want to ski anymore,” she said on Monday, according to Reuters. “I think I can maybe pull something off here at the World Championships, my last races, but to consistently train and race my knees are just not able to handle it anymore.”
The Minnesota native said Monday she felt “fine” after the opening downhill training session.
“Today I was just trying to get a feel for the terrain and I wasn’t looking to be fast, so in general, it was fine,” Vonn told reporters. “It was solid. Hard going No. 1. I didn’t really get the line right, but my knee feels decent so I’m looking forward to tomorrow and we’ll see what happens.”
Vonn is set on Sunday to compete in the downhill, which will be the final event of her career.
In addition to her World Cup accomplishments, Vonn also won a gold medal in downhill at the 2010 Vancouver Games. She also won two gold medals in the 2009 World Championships in France.
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
By Travis Fedschun