Sochi Olympics 2014: Lindsey Vonn delivers major blow to the Games with announcement she will not compete
The American had hoped to return in time for the Games in Russia
Tuesday 07 January 2014
Lindsey Vonn, the defending downhill champion and winter sport’s biggest star, will miss the Sochi Olympics after failing to recover from a knee injury. It is a crushing blow not only to the 29-year-old but also to the US team, US broadcasters and the organisers coming on the day they marked a month to go until the Games begin.
Vonn is skiing’s most recognisable face and one of the few winter sport athletes who transcends their discipline. Her gold in Vancouver four years ago – the first for the US in the women’s downhill – earned her widespread fame at home, a status that was only added to last year when she started going out with Tiger Woods.
Vonn, who also won a bronze in the super-G in Vancouver, tore ligaments in her right knee in a crash at the world championships in February. After undergoing surgery she was out of action for 10 months and then re-tore the repaired ligament in training in November. She still insisted she would make Sochi and returned to compete in World Cup races at Lake Louise in the US last month but then suffered a further injury racing at Val d’Isere – the first World Cup race watched by Woods. On Tuesday, Vonn gave up her struggle to make Sochi and will undergo surgery. She hopes to return for the 2015 world championships.
“I am devastated to announce I will not be able to compete in Sochi,” said the 29-year-old from Colorado. “I did everything I possibly could to somehow get strong enough to overcome having no ACL [anterior cruciate ligament] but the reality has sunk in that my knee is just too unstable to compete at this level.”
In a statement, Vonn’s management team said: “After the incident in Val d’Isere an MRI showed an MCL [medial collateral ligament] sprain which, coupled with the torn ACL, has made it impossible to stabilise her knee and be ready to safely ski again next month.”
The US were the most successful nation on the slopes in Vancouver but their hopes of repeating that feat in Sochi have been badly damaged by Vonn’s withdrawal. Bode Miller and Julia Mancuso, two of their other medal hopefuls, are both struggling desperately for any sort of form. The absence of Vonn will also be keenly felt by NBC; the skier was certain to be the centre-point of their coverage for which they paid $775m.
The organisers marked a month to go by announcing everything was ready and in place for Russia's first Winter Games and first post-Soviet Olympics. It was accompanied by a painful slogan “Hot. Cool. Yours.” Hours later one of their key performers was gone. They will be feeling Vonn’s pain.
Laura Trott and Jason Kenny announce engagement
Manchester United vs Newcastle United preview: Alan Pardew targets rare Old Trafford win to halt Newcastle slump
Arsenal vs QPR: Leroy Fer seeks perfect present for Boxing Day
Jose Mourinho on Sir Alex Ferguson: 'A good friend, a good person, a fantastic sense of humour. I like him very, very much'
Arsenal vs QPR live: Latest score and updates plus reaction to wins for Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Spurs
- 1 PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
- 3 The Grace Dent Christmas Questionnaire
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader