VIDEO: Lindsey Vonn Withdraws from Sochi Olympics Due to Knee Injury
Gold medalist Lindsey Vonn, who underwent major knee surgery 11 months ago, revealed that she is withdrawing from competing in the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi. Below, watch the report from this morning's TODAY on NBC.
"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," the skiing superstar said in a statement.
She continued, "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 is the most accomplished female skier in U.S. HISTORY and had planned to defend her gold medal in the downhill from the 2010 Olympics with a return in Sochi. In February of last year, Vonn tore the anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in her right knee and fractured her tibia in a crash in Schlamding, Austria, in the Alpine skiing world championships. She underwent surgery, and then suffered a setback in November when she partially tore one of the reconstructed ligaments in her knee in a crash during a training run at Copper Mountain in Colorado.
She then aggravated her knee again in a race in Val d'Isere, France, on Dec. 21. Vonn had made her return to World Cup racing in the first week of December, finishing fifth in the super-G and 40th and 11th in a pair of downhill races in Lake Louise, Alberta.
"I don't think I was pushing myself too hard,'' she told Matt Lauer on TODAY after her setback in November. "It just was unfortunately a fluke accident. That's the risk you take when you're going 80-90 miles an hour down a mountain. That's just part of the job, but I've picked myself back up, and I'm trying as hard as I can to keep going. I'm working as hard as I can."
Fellow Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek empathized with his fellow skier in a statement to TODAY, commenting, "My heart goes out to my good friend Lindsey Vonn. I know how hard she has worked to get back and how much competing in Sochi meant to her. She continues to be an inspiration to so many, myself included. I wish her a speedy recovery."