Road To Sochi: Lindsey Vonn Back On Snow
She was smiling and pain free. Nobody could ask for more as America’s Lindsey Vonn returned to the snow well ahead of schedule Saturday (Aug. 31) in Portillo, Chile.
It was the first click into skis for the Olympic Gold Medalist and four-time Audi FIS Alpine World Cup champion in almost seven months. Vonn severely injured her right knee during the opening race of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Schladming, Austria in early February.
Vonn was projected to get back on snow in November, but after arrival in Portillo, took two gentle runs as soon as her equipment arrived. She joined the U.S. women’s speed team, including Julia Mancuso, Stacey Cook, Leanne Smith, and Laurenne Ross for a two-week camp in the Andes. Alice McKennis, who suffered a similar injury to Vonn’s at the end of the season, plans on being back on snow in November.
Vonn picked up the pace a bit Sunday, skiing five runs with easy drills and minor arcing on flat terrain. She plans a return to gate racing by the end of the two-week camp. Ski team coaches and medical staff are monitoring Vonn day-to-day. She hopes to be able to compete Nov. 29-Dec. 1 in Audi FIS World Cup races at Beaver Creek. That course will serve as the test race for the 2015 World Championships to be held there.
“I’ve crashed a lot in my career and I’m just getting back up as fast as I can,” Vonn said. “Unfortunately, it’s taken me seven months to get back up this time but I was really excited to get back out there. It feels like the right time and my body feels ready.
“I can’t tell which knee is injured – that’s a good sign. I usually go from zero to a hundred. I’m not good in between, so this is going to be a challenge,” she said.
Vonn is three wins behind Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proll's all-time women’s record of 62 World Cup wins. If Vonn surpasses the mark this season, she will become the most successful female in World Cup history.
Photo: Lindsey Vonn is back on snow in Portillo, Chile under watchful eye of coach Jeff Fergus (Jonathan Seikovitz/Red Bull Content Pool)