Watching Lindsey Vonn at the end of Sunday’s downhill race in Are, Sweden, her smile was dazzling, her arms spread into a victory V, she bowed half-humorously to the cheering crowd.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Vonn smile this big in the finish area.

That thought was followed by another, bittersweet one: It’ll be the last time, too.

Vonn had every reason to celebrate.

Her run not only put her in the lead, but, for a while, kept her there.

For a few minutes, it seemed like all of the fates were aligning to give Vonn a final victory in the final race of her career.

In the end, a victory wasn’t meant to be but for Vonn and her fans, it was still a fairytale ending.

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