Lindsey Vonn announced Tuesday morning that she is stepping out of the Sochi Winter Olympics next month because of the knee she re-injured while preparing for the games, opting for surgery instead.
Vonn, the defending Olympic downhill skiing champion, made the announcement on Facebook.
Vonn first injured her right knee 11 months ago in the Super-G at the world meet in Schladming, Austria, according to the Chicago Tribune
. She tore the anterior and medial ligaments (ACL and MCL) and fracturing the upper tibial plateau, requiring surgery.
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After an intense rehab program, she hit the slopes in September in hopes of competing in the Olympics only to reinjure the knee, including a partial tear of her right ACL, during a Nov. 19 training session in Colorado.
The Tribune said Vonn's last attempt to race came in late December when she was forced with withdraw from the Dec. 21 downhill at Val d’Isere, France, when she came down hard on the hurt knee.
Vonn publicist told the Tribune then that an MRI "showed an MCL sprain which, coupled with the torn ACL, has made it impossible to stabilize her knee and be ready to safely ski again next month."
Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated said
Vonn's loss not only hurts the U.S. ski team, but takes some of the luster off the Olympics overall.
"Vonn's absence deprives the Games of one of their most significant U.S. stars," Layden said in his column. "Only snowboarder Shaun White can come close to matching Vonn's celebrity wattage, a status driven into TMZ territory by her nearly yearlong relationship with (golfer Tiger) Woods. More measurably, it deprives one of the most dominant ski racers in history (and by far the best U.S. female racer in history) of the chance to add more Olympic medals to her career record."
According to NBC News
, Vonn has won an American-record four overall World Cup championships along with the downhill gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. She is three wins short of Austria's Annemarie Moser-Proell women's record of 62 World Cup race victories.
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