Lindsey’s Olympic Comeback Over; American Superstar Withdraws From Sochi Games
"I am devastated to announce that I will not be able to compete in Sochi. I did everything I possibly could to somehow get strong enough to overcome having no ACL but the reality has sunk in that my knee is just too unstable to compete at this level. I'm having surgery soon so that I can be ready for the World Championships at home in Vail next February.
“On a positive note, this means there will be an additional spot so that one of my teammates can go for gold. Thank you all so much for all of the love and support. I will be cheering for all of the Olympians and especially team USA!''
Vonn suffered a terrible crash last winter during a downhill training run at the World Alpine Ski Championships. She required surgery to reconstruct the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments. She also had to wait for a tibial plateau fracture in the same leg to heal.
Then, just as it looked like her comeback plans had some traction – steadily improving her position in early World Cup downhill races –she re-tore her ACL in a training session in Colorado. It had been reconstructed with a 10-inch piece of her hamstring.
She kept on trucking, but her brace-encased knee buckled during a downhill turn at a December World Cup downhill in Val d’Isere, France.
U.S. team coach Alex Hoedlmoser reportedly told the Associated Press last week that Vonn had not been on skis since that race at Val d’Isere and was considering not competing at all before Sochi. Vonn said that she will repeat the ACL surgery shortly.
Vonn is, without doubt, one of the most dominant ski racers in history, not only in America. She has won 59 World Cup races, just three podium tops off the record held by Annemarie Moser-Proell of Austria; four World Cup overall titles, second to Moser-Proell's four. She won the Olympic downhill at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, BC and went on to win the 2010 and 2012 overall World Cup titles.
Vonn, 29, is a fierce competitor and will, most certainly, aim for a gold medal at next year's world championships on her home mountain in the Vail Valley. It’s also important to note that she will be 33 years old when the 2018 Winter Olympics roll around in Pyeongchang, South Korea. That’s not exactly “old age” for speed racers.
What It Means: The loss of Vonn’s inspirational competitiveness and skill to the U.S. Ski Team can’t be even measured. There can be no doubt, however, the Vonn story is far from over. All of us at SnoCountry.com wish her the best.
Photo: Lindsey Vonn at Lake Louise (U.S. Ski Team)