There seem to be a lot of compelling reasons for athletes not to compete in the Sochi Olympics this February, but Lindsey Vonn’s decision to sit out the Winter Games is pretty straight forward and apolitical. Vonn is simply not healthy enough to put her body through the kind of demands Olympic competition entails and so she will not be competing in Sochi.
A few weeks ago on December 21st, the skier injured her right knee during a competition in France at Val d’ Isere. During one of her runs, she fell and did not finish. After the race, an MRI revealed something more serious than mere disqualification.
Vonn’s publicist released a statement saying that Vonn’s MRI revealed a sprain of her MCL, otherwise known as her medial collateral ligament. That injury along with the ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) tear has forced her to decide that her knees are just not stable enough for competition.
Yes, it has been a tumultuous year for the gold winning athlete. The competition in France was only her second competitive World Cup race since she had torn her MCL, which is located in the knee, and her ACL a year ago this February. She then partially tore that same ACL this November.
Vonn wrote on her Facebook page that she did everything possible to be healthy enough to compete, but this latest injury has set her back. She also said that after her surgery she will be at home in Vail recovering for the next World Championships. She also added that her injury creates a spot for another American to go for gold.
Bill Marolt, who is the acting president for the Skiing and Snowboarding Association of the United States said that, “looking ahead, I have every ounce of confidence that Lindsey will be in the starting gate next World Cup season ready to compete.”
He also explained that the superstar is no stranger to the difficult work required of an athlete who wants to be at the top of her game. He also added that she has already had an amazing career as a competitive skier.
A successful career indeed. Vonn is the greatest female skier in USA history. She has won 17 World Cup titles and has set a record for the most consecutive downhill titles, 6. She also holds four overall crowns in the World Cup.
She is also only three World Cup victories short of tying the current record for a female. The Colorado native has 59 career victories, the record is held by Annemarie Moser Proell of Austria at 62.
The loss of Vonn is a huge loss to team USA. She might have the most star power of any winter athlete on the American squad. But her loss is also the loss of fans of the Winter Olympics around the globe. Her comeback certainly would have been one of the biggest stories concerned only with sports at the 2014 Sochi games.
The 29 year old star comes from Vail, Colorado and is currently dating golf superstar Tiger Woods. Woods was on hand in France when she suffered her latest injury.
The last time Vonn was in an Olympic games she won two medals. That was the 2010 games in Vancouver. That year she also won the first Olympic gold medal in downhill in American women’s skiing history. The Sochi Olympics are missing out on a huge star now that Lindsey Vonn has announced she will not compete in the February Olympics, but don’t worry too much there will still be plenty of headlines.
By Nick Manai