Lindsey Vonn to undergo surgery after serious crash that saw her airlifted from mountain

The American skiier lost control at the World Championships in Schladming

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The Independent Online

American skier Lindsey Vonn will undergo surgery in the US next week after tearing two ligaments in her right knee and breaking a bone in her lower leg after a serious crash yesterday.

Vonn had to be airlifted to hospital after the incident at the World Championships in Schladming.

The four-time World Cup overall champion lost balance on her right leg while landing after a jump. Immediately her ski came off and Vonn slid off the course and hit a gate before coming to a standstill.

Vonn was treated for 12 minutes on the slope before being taken to hospital by helicopter.

"She'll be heading back to Vail (Colorado) and I will be doing surgery on her knee early next week," saiid US Ski Team physician William Sterett.

Vonn was released from hospital last night and returned to the team hotel, and is "doing well" and "in good spirits" according to Sterett.

In pictures: Lindsey Vonn is airlifted to hospital

Vonn, who has been romantically linked with golfer Tiger Woods, was competing in the Super-G event on the opening day of the championships.

While no official announcement on how long she can expect to be out for has been made, it has been speculated she will miss six to eight months of action.

The Olympic gold medal winner at the 2010 Winter Olympics is the poster girl of US skiing, having appeared on The Today Show, Access Hollywood, and The Late Show with David Letterman, as well as taking on a number of commercial endorsements, most notably with Red Bull.

Vonn married fellow skier Thomas Vonn in 2007, however it was announced the couple had begun divorce proceedings last year which were finalised last month. The 28-year-old has since been rumoured to be having a relationship with Woods.