American Olympic skiing star Lindsey Vonn was reportedly injured while training downhill Tuesday morning at Copper Mountain, a Colorado ski resort where she was training less than three months before the Sochi Games.
Tom Kelly, a spokesman for the U.S. ski team, said that she was taken to a hospital after being taken off the slope on a sled.
“We have no reason to believe it’s anything significant right now,” he said. Later, Vonn’s public relations manager said she had returned to her Vail home and will be evaluated by Dr. Bill Sterett, who repaired her leg in February. Another spokesman said clarity on Vonn’s condition should be known within 24 hours.
The 29-year-old Vonn, the country’s most decorated ski racer, has had a penchant for spectacular crashes since arriving on the international racing scene more than a decade ago. Lindsey was just returning to form after a right knee injury suffered in February at the world championships in Austria. She tore ligaments in her right knee and required surgery and spent six weeks on crutches after tearing ligaments. She also suffered a fractured tibia.
Actually, because of the seriousness of her February injury and its summer-long rehabilitation, Vonn was able to do spend far less time than usual testing new equipment combinations, a painstaking process that is a critical component of her racing success.
The athlete vowed at the time of her February crash she would return in time for the 2014 Olympics and was believed to be well ahead of schedule.
“I worked hard for a reason,” Vonn said after a Nov. 8 training session at Vail. “I definitely think I will be ready.”
Vonn has competed in each of the last three Winter Olympiads, winning bronze in Super-G and gold in downhill at the 2010 Games in Vancouver. She was expected to make her return to competitive racing Thanksgiving weekend at Beaver Creek.
With Vonn feeling her knee was months ahead of schedule, she thought about pushing up her comeback to the season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, late last month. But she changed her mind, opting instead to continue to prepare.
Vonn recently said her super-G is “some of the best super-G I’ve ever skied, but my downhill still needs a little more time.”
She’s been taking practice runs in Copper Mountain, and posted on her Twitter account Monday: “Catching some air today in Downhill training.”
Vonn’s longtime ski team teammate and rival Julia Mancuso, the 2006 Olympic giant slalom champion, tweeted a message of support after Tuesday’s news.
“Lets all send Lindsey Vonn our positivity and hope for the best,” Mancuso wrote.
On Sunday night Vonn appeared on the sideline of the Chiefs-Broncos game in Denver with her boyfriend, Tiger Woods. Last year Vonn finalized her divorce with her former husband, Thomas Vonn.
Vonn has won an American record 59 World Cup races, second only to Austrian great Annemarie Moser-Proell, who holds the all-time record for women with 62 victories, as the NY Daily News writes.