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Lindsey Vonn announces retirement from ski racing in emotional post

The Olympic gold medalist revealed her final races will take place at this month's world championships in Sweden.
/ Source: TODAY

Lindsey Vonn is officially parting ways with the slopes.

The decorated Team USA racer, 34, revealed Friday in a heart-wrenching Instagram post that she will retire from ski racing after this month's world championships in Åre, Sweden.

"It’s been an emotional 2 weeks making the hardest decision of my life, but I have accepted that I cannot continue ski racing," she wrote.

Vonn, a three-time Olympic medalist and the women's all-time leader in World Cup wins, had originally planned to retire in December of this year, after a final go at the World Cup in Lake Louise, Alberta. But her persistently ailing knees have led her to hang up her skis months ahead of schedule.

"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," Vonn added.

Superstar skier Lindsey Vonn announced her retirement from racing, citing her ailing knees. "My body is broken beyond repair," she wrote on social media.TIZIANA FABI / Getty Images

The athlete cited several injuries she sustained over the past year, including a recent one last November at Colorado's Copper Mountain. When she was unable to finish a race in Italy last month, Vonn hinted she may be in too much pain to keep going.

The racer, who won gold in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, had to wait eight years for her next shot at an Olympic medal after a knee injury forced her to sit out of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. She walked away with two bronze medals in Pyeongchang, South Korea last year.

However, Vonn wrote that walking away from racing without breaking Ingemar Stenmark's record of 86 World Cup wins is the hardest reality for her to face: "Honestly, retiring isn’t what upsets me. Retiring without reaching my goal is what will stay with me forever."

But the Olympian ended her note with a positive message.

"Thank you for the amazing years, for always supporting me, and for making my job so fun. Can’t wait to see some of you in the finish in Åre where I will give it my all one last time."