The 2018/19 season of the Audi FIS Ski World Cup is in full swing, but some athletes have already announced that this season will be their last one and that will retire from active ski racing. Some big names like Lindsey Vonn, Aksel Lund Svindal and André Myhrer are among those athletes.
Lindsey Vonn has marked the sport like probably no one else before her. As an American women, she fought her way up to the top and has dominated alpine skiing for years. She has no less than four Overall globes (2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012) and 16 discipline Crystal globes (8x DH, 5x SG, 3x AC) under her belt, as well as three Olympic medals (including one win in Vancouver 2010 DH) and seven World Championship medals (including two wins in Val d’Isère 2009 DH & SG). But the most impressive number on her resume is the 82 World Cup wins that she has claimed over her 395 starts to-date, a number that places her second best of all time, just behind Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark (86). Over the years, unfortunately, Lindsey Vonn also collected numerous injuries that delayed her progression and her chase of that record. After she announced that 2018/19 will be her last season, the American super star was injured again and affirmed she couldn’t leave without skiing in Lake Louise one more time. In Cortina d’Ampezzo, she was very emotional and revealed that she suffered another nerve injury and was unsure if she could continue to race. She ultimately decided that the super-G and downhill races at the 2019 Åre FIS World Ski Championships will be last starts.
Another iconic figure of alpine skiing also stated that he will ski in one final event before quitting the World Cup Tour. It’s Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal. Eighteen years after his first World Cup start the attacking Viking chose to put an end to his career after the World Championships in Are, the place where he also celebrated his first (out of 5) World Champion title. Svindal claimed two Overall globes (2007 and 2009) and nine further discipline globes over his career and two Olympic Champion titles, one of them in the downhill in PyeongChang last winter. His 36 World Cup wins place him in 14th position of all time, setting the record among Norwegian athletes. The sportsman hasn’t been untroubled by injuries neither and had to fight his way back to the top many times. But this season, his knee seems to set a limit that he can’t overcome and forces him to lower the race rhythm. Therefore, Svindal will focus on his last goal: the World Championships in Are, before retiring and enjoying the sport from the other side of the fence.
On the men’s side, also André Myhrer implied that this would be the last season of his career. The current slalom Olympic Champion, who claimed the title of oldest World Cup slalom podium contender in Levi in December, enjoys his last season on the Tour with the World Championships in his home country as a highlight. The 36 years old Swede won the slalom globe in 2012 and earned 8 World Cup wins and 28 podiums over his career, in addition to the two Olympic and the one World Championship medal.
Thomas Fanara, from the French ski team, is another veteran who has announced that 2018/19 will be his farewell Tour on the World Cup. For a long time, he was the record holder of the number of podiums without a win on the World Cup, but the giant slalom specialist managed to claim the top spot at the Finals in St-Moritz in 2016. Unfortunately, this success was followed by an injury that sidelined him for the 2016/17 season. But it was definitely worth fighting back, as the 37 years old is having a great season and already claimed two podiums so far, one in Alta Badia and another one in Adelboden.
Last week in Kitzbuehel, the 2015 World Champion in the downhill Patrick Küng announced that he is putting an immediate end to his career. He suffered a concussion after a crash in Wengen and realized that he is no longer willing to take the risks that come with speed skiing. The winner of the 2014 Lauberhorn downhill and of the 2013 Beaver Creek super-g says goodbye to his life as a ski racer.
With Sandro Viletta, another Swiss athlete retired this season. The alpine combined Olympic Champion from Sochi 2014 was struggling with back problems for years and suffered two ACL tears in 2016 and 2018. So he decided to put an end to his career, quitting with one World Cup win claimed in the Beaver Creek super-g in 2011.
We wish all these athletes all the best for their future plans and thank them for the great moments and emotions they offered us throughout the years.