After famously waiting eight years to ski for 100 seconds, on Tuesday night U.S. Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn earned bronze in what will be her final Olympic women’s downhill race, her signature event. With just one more competition left to complete (the Alpine combined on Thursday) before she retires from Olympic competition at 33, Vonn gave an emotional early exit interview to NBC following her latest medal win. “I gave it my best shot. I tried so hard and I worked my butt off,” she said through tears, adding that she hoped she made her late grandfather, who died last fall, proud.
She also reflected on the bittersweet roller coaster of her career, which boasted three Olympic medals throughout years of battling injuries (she missed Sochi and a chance to defend her downhill gold from Vancouver because of knee surgery). “It’s sad. It’s my last downhill. I wish I could keep going. I have so much fun and I love what I do,” she said. “My body just can’t take another four years. I’m proud to have competed for my country and given it my all.”