Former world champion and gold medalist downhill racer Lindsey Vonn has formally withdrawn from the Olympics after reinjuring her right knee in a race at Val D’Isere, France, on December 21 of last year, according to CNN.
The announcement comes exactly one month before the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. A clearly emotional Vonn announced the news via her Facebook page.
“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,” she wrote.
The news ends a roller coaster recovery, one that stems back nearly a year to a crash in Schladming, Austria, that broke her tibial plateau and tore her ACL and MCL. Vonn recovered enough to get back on snow by this summer, and was slated to be back in competition shape for the World Cup season. Unfortunately, a crash at Copper Mountain in Colorado and another at Val D’Isere (one was later revealed to have partially torn her repaired ACL), were too much for the former Olympic champion to overcome.
Despite her disappointment, Vonn remained positive, stating via Facebook her decision has opened up a spot for a healthy American competitor and a chance for an American medal in the downhill. The U.S. will be left in capable hands as Julia Mancuso has already won Olympic hardware and 18-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin already has six career World Cup victories.
According to her Facebook post, Vonn will undergo surgery soon in order to prepare for World Championships next year.