After more than 3,000 days since she last dressed in a Team USA jersey and competed competitively in an Olympic Games, Lindsey Vonn is once again a medalist.
The 33-year-old earned herself the bronze medal for her efforts in what is considered to be her final Olympic downhill race of her career in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
However, this feat was not achieved without considerable setbacks, both physically and emotionally.
Perhaps Vonn’s most notable injury came during the 2013 World Championships, where the American suffered a violent crash and ultimately needed to be airlifted from the scene. Doctors later “diagnosed her with tears of the medial collateral and anterior cruciate ligaments in her right knee and a fractured tibial plateau, all of which resulted in season-ending surgery.”
This was just the start of a long, pain-ridden road for Vonn, however.
After undergoing months of rehabilitation and nearing a complete recovery, Vonn suffered yet another partial tear in her knee, which threw her timeline for return into a tailspin.
Physical injuries are just a side note to Vonn, however, when you take into account how she has persevered emotionally in recent times.
After a widely publicized relationship with golfing star Tiger Woods, the two reportedly separated after it was reported that Wood’s was not faithful to their relationship. Further, Vonn suffered the death of her grandfather just before the Olympic games began, who she regarded as an integral person in her life.
“I will not be beaten,” Vonn said. “I stand strong and I’m proud of what I represent and who I am, and I’m very proud to hold the American flag on the podium. All Americans deserve to hold the flag and to be proud of their country, no matter what their beliefs because that’s what makes America great.”
Although Vonn may not be hoisting the gold, her story provides an inspirational reminder of just how powerful the Olympic games can be.