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Vonn medals in final race of career

Lindsey Vonn of the United States competes in the downhill portion of the super combined alpine skiing race at the FIS Alpine Skiing World Championships on Friday, Feb. 8. On Sunday, Vonn claimed the bronze medal in the final race of her career. Sebastien Boue / Presse Sports via USA TODAY Sports

ARE, Sweden -- American Alpine ski racer Lindsey Vonn claimed the bronze medal in the final race of her storied career.

Vonn, who announced her intention to retire ahead of this month's FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, finished third in the world championship downhill on Sunday, Feb. 10.

"I laid it all on the line. That's all I wanted to do today," Vonn said after the race.

"I have to admit I was a little bit nervous, probably the most nervous I've ever been in my life. I wanted to finish strong so badly."

Vonn, a native of St. Paul, crashed out of Tuesday's Super-G, suffering a black eye and bruised rib, but recovered enough to complete Sunday's final event.

The 34-year-old Vonn is the winningest female Alpine racer of all time with 82 World Cup wins, 20 World Cup titles, three Olympic medals and eight World Championship medals. Only Ingemar Stenmark has more career wins than Vonn, ending his career with 86.

Stenmark was on hand in the finish area to celebrate with Vonn, who also became the oldest woman to win a medal at the world championships and first to win medals at six different worlds.

"Ingemar being in the finish area was literally the best thing that's ever happened in my life,'' Vonn said.

Vonn was hoping to retire at the end of the season, but after failing to finish a race in Italy last month, Vonn said she could not ignore the painful message her body was sending her.

Vonn revealed she secretly had knee surgery last spring following a crash in Lake Louise, Canada, where doctors removed a large portion of cartilage that had become divided from the bone, but after a summer of solid rehab, she reinjured the knee in November in a crash at Copper Mountain, Colo. She had hoped to compete in the 2019 season with the goal to tie or top the Stenmark's all-time World Cup win mark.

"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 wrote in her post. "Honestly, retiring isn't what upsets me. Retiring without reaching my goal is what will stay with me forever."

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