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Lindsey Vonn: a daredevil champion never afraid to show her scars

The 34-year-old has retired as the most successful female skier of all time. She is loved for her flaws as much as her phenomenal physical gifts

Olympic athletes have an unfortunate tendency to be recognized only for what they accomplish during the Games, and these days that fame is even more fleeting than it was in the past. Ashton Eaton became arguably the greatest all-round athlete in the world when he won decathlon gold at the 2016 Olympics but he is hardly a household name – a comparison of Google Trends shows him lagging far behind golfer Jordan Spieth over the past five years. And Eaton won the hallmark Olympic event twice.

In the case of Lindsey Vonn, who has retired from skiing after finishing third in the downhill at the World Championships on Sunday, it was her high-profile relationships with Tiger Woods and NHL star PK Subban that kept her in the headlines rather than her achievements on the slopes. That’s because her home country, obsessed with its domestic sports leagues, tends not to notice skiing World Cups or World Championships. And that’s a pity, because the 34-year-old fashioned a model of consistent winning and resiliency that few athletes can match, until a long string of injuries finally forced her into retirement.

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