Knee Injury Cuts The World Cup Season Short for Overall Leader
If there’s one thing that will inevitably plague a professional athlete’s career it’s those pesky injuries which challenge many aspects of their personality, not least of all when the season is almost won but not quite. When injury in the final straight hails the end of the race, when you have to decide if an injury has been overcome and is ready to be tested in competition. Can you rely on it, has the rehab done its job, are you being impatient and rushing through, does one more race threaten a season and so one. For U.S. ski racer Lindsey Vonn that decision was made today to wrap the season early after a knee injury; there really was no choice, given the extent of her knee injury, but it doesn’t make it any easier.
Leading in the overall standings with one downhill race to go for this World Cup season it must be gut wrenching for her, especially since she returned to the hill in Andorra to win last Sunday, the day after crashing out with the finish line in sight and finding a hairline fracture which turned out to be much worse! That takes guts and a sprinkling of bravado but then we’ve become accustomed to her style and what makes her a champion… one of the all-time greats in Alpine Skiing. Her fans will be pleased to know that she will be back with her sights firmly set on next year’s World Championships and then the Olympic Games so we have lots more racing from Lindsey to look forward to. But for now it’s back to the treatment table and that uphill fight in rehab to regain 100% strength and mobility to get back on the slopes. An all too familiar detour for her – she missed the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games because of injuries to her right knee – but her supreme fitness and strength will stand her in good stead yet again.
A four-time World Cup overall champion, Lindsey had nine World Cup wins this season and led Switzerland’s Lara Gut by 28 points in the overall standings.
Lindsey summed up her premature end to the season with this statement:
“Today I am making the difficult decision to end my season and leave the World Cup circuit due to an injury I suffered last Saturday. Because I am currently leading the Overall World Cup standings, this is one of the toughest decisions of my career. When I crashed on Saturday in Andorra, I fractured my tibial plateau. The traditional X-rays that were taken that afternoon showed a hairline fracture, but the tibial plateau appeared to be stable and did not pose significant risk to competing. So I raced on Sunday. After the Super Combined on Sunday, I went to Barcelona where more precise MRI and CT equipment was available and scans were performed on Tuesday morning. Those images showed that there was not just 1 hairline fracture, but in fact 3. And the fractures are not hairline, but instead they are significant enough that they are not sufficiently stable to permit me to safely continue skiing. Further damage any of the fragments could result in a serious surgery that would risk my future in ski racing. With the World Championships in St. Moritz next year and the Winter Olympics in South Korea the following year, I cannot take that risk. So I have made the decision to end my season. I am very proud of what I have been able to accomplish this year: 9 World Cup victories, breaking the World Cup downhill win record, breaking the World Cup Super G podium record, and winning the most World Cup discipline titles–20–of any skier, male or female. While I am confident that I’m making the right decision, it still doesn’t make this decision any easier. Thanks to everyone who supported me and stood by me through it all. Best of luck to all the World Cup competitors. I’ll see you again next year. Xo LV”
Good luck Lindsey and we look forward to your return to the slopes next season.