Rough sledding for Lindsey Vonn as injured knee fails during event
DENVER — Even if Lindsey Vonn competes at the Olympics in Sochi in February, what kind of form will the four-time World Cup overall champion be in?
Vonn missed a gate in a downhill in Val d’Isere, France on Saturday — with boyfriend Tiger Woods watching — and then said her ailing right knee was to blame.
She was seeking to become just the second woman — behind Austria’s Annemarie Moser-Proll — to win 60 World Cup races.
“I didn’t hurt myself more than I’m already hurt,” the American told reporters. “Unfortunately, I have no (anterior cruciate ligament) and it gave out on me. My knee is loose and it’s not stable and that’s the way it’s going to be from here on out. I just have to get used to it.”
— lindsey vonn (@lindseyvonn) December 21, 2013
The reigning Olympic and World Cup downhill champ hurt the knee at the world championships last February — she subsequently underwent reconstructive surgery — and aggravated the problem in a crash in training last month.
But Vonn made a quick recovery and placed fifth in a Super-G in Lake Louise, Canada before deciding to skip last week’s races in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
“It’s certainly not the return I had anticipated,” Vonn said. “It was Tiger’s first time on a World Cup race and I was really hoping to win my 60th as a present for him.”
Vonn added she would probably only race once or twice more prior to the Olympics in Russia.
“I just need to be more careful of how many races I do,” she said.
“I’m at risk of doing more damage to my knee and my meniscus. So I’m going to play it safe and race really minimal races.”
Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden of Switzerland earned a maiden World Cup victory, beating Slovenia’s Tina Maze by 0.29 seconds and Austria’s Cornelia Huetter by 0.50 seconds.
Kaufmann-Abderhalden trails Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch by six points in the downhill standings. Hoefl-Riesch was ninth Saturday.
Erik Guay has had knee problems of his own — undergoing surgery in August — but the Canadian was the fastest in the 50th running of the downhill in Val Gardena, Italy.
He bettered Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud by 0.12 seconds and France’s Johan Clarey by 0.24 seconds to claim a fourth World Cup win.
Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal, the current overall leader, and former overall champion Bode Miller of the U.S were fourth and fifth, respectively.
Svindal also leads the downhill standings through three races.
CNN contributed to this article.