Ilka Štuhec defended her women's downhill title at the FIS Alpine Skiing World Championships in Åre ©Getty Images

Slovenia’s Ilka Štuhec successfully defended her women’s downhill title at the International Ski Federation (FIS) Alpine Skiing World Championships in Åre as Lindsey Vonn’s brilliant career ended with a bronze medal.

The pre-race build-up had been dominated by the focus on the final race of Vonn’s career following the America’s recent retirement announcement.

The 34-year-old had announced last month, following a World Cup race in Cortina d'Ampezzo, where she ran off course due to the pain in her knees, she would retire after the World Championships.

Vonn has suffered numerous injuries to her knees during her career in which she became downhill and super-G world champion in 2009 and downhill Olympic champion at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games.

The Pyeongchang 2018 downhill bronze medallist at one stage appeared on course for a golden farewell after achieving a time of 1min 02.23sec to top the standings.

Several rivals proved unable to oust the American from top spot but defending champion Štuhec then delivered a superb run.

The Slovenian stormed down the course at the Swedish resort to finish in a time of 1:01.74.

America's Lindsey Vonn ended her glittering career with a bronze medal ©Getty Images
America's Lindsey Vonn ended her glittering career with a bronze medal ©Getty Images

The effort saw Štuhec retain the title she won two years ago at St Moritz in Switzerland.

Switzerland’s Corinne Suter also overtook Vonn to finish as the silver medallist, achieving a time of 1:01.97.

Vonn was able to celebrate a final medal of her career as the American held on to secure the bronze medal.

“I think everyone knows my mentality by now, I always risk everything all the time, which is the reason I’ve been able to win so much and it’s also the reason why I crash so much and have had so many injuries”, Vonn said.

“I risked it all today. 

"I was so nervous all day and had serious anxiety. 

"I wanted more than anything to finish strong. 

"I didn’t want to end up like I did on Tuesday, in the fence.“

The Championships are due continue tomorrow with the men’s Alpine combined event scheduled to take place.