Jan 7, 2014, 8:31 AM EDT
Lindsey Vonn will miss the Sochi Olympics, saying her surgically repaired right knee could not get strong enough in time for the Winter Games in February.
Vonn, the 2010 Olympic downhill champion, released a statement Tuesday in an email from her publicist and on social media.
Vonn blew out her right knee at the World Championships last February. She returned to skiing on snow in late August and partially retore her right ACL in November.
She returned to competitive skiing in December but skied out of a race in Val d’Isere, France, on Dec. 21. She said her knee “completely gave out.”
On Dec. 21, Vonn said she thought her next race would be “sometime in January” and had not commented since.
“I’m at risk of doing more damage to my knee and my meniscus,” she said in Val d’Isere. “So I’m going to play it safe and race really minimal races. Probably one or two before the Olympics.”
U.S. Ski Team coaches offered more pessimistic comments Sunday.
“Her knee is very swollen, and it’s impossible for her to consider skiing for now,” U.S. Ski Team coach Alex Hoedlmoser said, according to Reuters.
“To race without a ligament is extremely risky and can have serious consequences,” U.S. Ski Team coach Patrick Riml added. ”If she was a young athlete, we would have stopped her already.”
Vonn, a three-time Olympian, will be 33 years old come the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. She has goals outside the Olympics to accomplish before then.
She has 59 career World Cup wins. She is second all-time among women behind Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell, who had 62, and has long been thought to eventually break it, even with her major knee injuries.
The long-term goal is the men’s record held by Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark, who won 86 races.
“I’ve already been thinking about that [men's record],” she said, according to Red Bulletin. “My current plan is to keep going until the 2015 World Cup. Then I’ll see how far away I am from that number and then I’ll decide what to do, whether I’ll keep going in every discipline or maybe just downhill and super-G and concentrate on that record.”
Vonn’s absence from Sochi shifts more of the skiing spotlight to Americans Mikaela Shiffrin, Ted Ligety and Bode Miller.
Shiffrin, 18, is a gold-medal favorite in the Olympic slalom and a contender in the giant slalom.
Ligety, a 2006 Olympic champion, won three gold medals at the 2013 World Championships and could win gold in the giant slalom in Sochi.
Miller, 36, eyes his fifth Olympics. He’s the most decorated U.S. Olympic skier with five medals and coming off 2012 knee surgery that caused him to miss the entire 2012-13 season.
Apr 19, 2014, 12:10 PM EDT
Watch every runner cross the finish line on Monday.
Apr 19, 2014, 11:41 AM EDT
Two-time Olympian hasn’t run a marathon since the London Games.
Apr 18, 2014, 9:41 PM EDT
All eyes will be on a changed Boylston Street on Monday.
Apr 18, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT
Universal Sports will have live coverage and is on a free preview nationwide.
Apr 18, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT
Monday’s race figures to come down to two men.
Apr 18, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
An American with Massachusetts ties wants to win.
Apr 17, 2014, 1:59 PM EDT
Mark Wells previously sold his gold medal, too.
Apr 17, 2014, 12:21 PM EDT
Sochi club team is being reformed.
Apr 17, 2014, 9:56 AM EDT
Furtsch Ojeda talks about winning 4x100m relay gold at 1932 Olympics.
Apr 17, 2014, 9:10 AM EDT
Trial goes on break until May 5.
Apr 16, 2014, 6:54 PM EDT
Olympic swimming champion finished 2013 race before explosions.
Apr 16, 2014, 4:43 PM EDT
Deal takes Nike, USATF through next seven Olympics.
Apr 16, 2014, 2:57 PM EDT
Decathlon champion talks Montreal 1976, Steve Prefontaine and the greatest athlete of all time.
Apr 16, 2014, 11:31 AM EDT
Police commissioner asks spectators not to flock to Boylston Street on Monday.
Apr 16, 2014, 8:56 AM EDT
Judge will spend break reading 2,000-page court record.
Apr 16, 2014, 4:17 AM EDT
Korea Skating Union is protesting the makeup of judges, not the results.
Apr 15, 2014, 3:59 PM EDT
Survivors, first responders, those affected by attack take part in tribute.
Apr 15, 2014, 12:16 PM EDT
Teams’ tweets sent at same time Tuesday morning.
Apr 15, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT
World’s fastest man might not race again until June.
Apr 15, 2014, 11:28 AM EDT
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