PORTILLO, Chile (Sept. 2) – Less than seven months ago, when Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn severely injured her knee in a dramatic crash that required her to be airlifted off the mountain, many doubted if she could recover in time to compete in championship form for the 2014 season. This weekend Vonn took a key step towards her goal of once again dominating her sport, as she skied for the first time on a practice run during the U.S. Ski Team training camp in Portillo, Chile.
On February 5, 2013, Vonn suffered a torn ACL, MCL and lateral tibial plateau fracture after a crash during the Super-G at the World Championships in Austria. After returning to the States, she had surgery on February 10th to repair her torn ligaments by Dr. Sterett of Vail Valley Surgery Center in Vail, Colo.
On August 31st, 2013, on a sunny day in the remote resort in Andes region of Chile, Vonn took her first run on snow, accomplishing a key milestone as she prepares for the 2013/14 World Cup Season. Vonn was so eager to return to her sport, she rushed to the ski lift after arriving to Portillo in the late afternoon after more than 24 hours of traveling. She took two gentle and easy-paced runs with U.S. Ski Team coach Jeff Fergus guiding her. Reflecting on the moment, Vonn said, “I’ve crashed a lot in my career and I’m just getting back up as fast as I can. Unfortunately it’s taken me seven months to get back up this time but I was really excited to get back out there today. It feels like the right time and my body feels ready.”
The biggest obstacle for Vonn wasn’t knee pain, as she said, “I can’t tell which knee is injured- that’s a good sign,” but taking the necessary slow steps to returning to form. “I usually go from zero to a hundred,” she admits, “I’m not good in between so this is going to be a challenge.”
Currently Vonn is three wins behind Annemarie Moser-Proll’s all-time record of 62 World Cup wins. If Vonn surpasses the mark this season, she would be the most successful female in World Cup history. Vonn hopes to return to racing for the World Cup stop in Beaver Creek in late November.
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