US skiing star Lindsey Vonn out of Sochi Olympics

Updated: 2014-01-08 10:24


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US skiing star Lindsey Vonn out of Sochi Olympics
Lindsey Vonn of the US leaves after the Women's World Cup Downhill skiing race in Val d'Isere, French Alps, December 21, 2013.  [Photo/Agencies]

But Vonn has rarely been present on the elite skiing circuit the past 12 months. She tore two ligaments in her right knee and broke a bone in that leg during a high-speed crash at the world championships last February.

As Vonn neared a return, she re-tore her surgically repaired ACL in a crash during training in November. After finishing 40th, 11th and fifth in a trio of World Cup races at Lake Louise, Alberta, in early December, Vonn sprained her MCL during a downhill at Val d'Isere, France, two weeks later.

"I did everything I possibly could to somehow get strong enough to overcome having no ACL," Vonn said Tuesday via Facebook.
"I'm having surgery soon so that I can be ready for the World Championships at home in Vail next February," she wrote. "On a positive note, this means there will be an additional spot so that one of my teammates can go for gold."

Mikaela Shiffrin, the reigning world champion in slalom, and Julia Mancuso, a three-time Olympic medalist, will now draw extra attention as American women trying to reach the Alpine skiing podium in Sochi. Top skiers from other countries who will be favored for medals include Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch, Switzerland's Lara Gut, Slovenia's Tina Maze and Liechtenstein's Tina Weirather.

Shiffrin, the US teenager labeled the "next Vonn" by some, wrote on Twitter that it's "hard to swallow" that Vonn won't be competing in Sochi. Another American racer, Stacey Cook, posted on Facebook: "Our team is not the same without you. You leave big shoes to fill."

After skiing in two downhills and a super-G at Lake Louise last month, Vonn sounded optimistic, declaring she would be in Sochi, "fighting for my medal."

But shortly thereafter in France _ with Woods watching in the finish area _ Vonn lost her balance. Her left ski lifted, forcing weight onto her right knee. She grimaced, then clutched that leg.

More photos of Vonn and Tiger:

US skiing star Lindsey Vonn out of Sochi Olympics
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US skiing star Lindsey Vonn out of Sochi Olympics
AtNew York fashion show  

US skiing star Lindsey Vonn out of Sochi Olympics
Aching Tiger anchors US triumph