The 29-year-old American broke the news on her Facebook page on
"I am devastated to announce I will not be able to compete in
Sochi," said Vonn, the girlfriend of world number one golfer Tiger
"I did everything I possibly could to somehow get strong enough to
overcome having no ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) but the reality
has sunk in that my knee is just too unstable to compete at this
Vonn, a four-times overall World Cup champion and the standout name
in women's Alpine skiing, badly injured her right knee in a world
championship super-G in February.
She hurt her knee again while training for the season-opening World
Cup downhill at Beaver Creek, Colorado but appeared to be back on
track after racing at Lake Louise, Alberta.
Vonn then traveled with the U.S. team to Europe and, with Woods
watching her for the first time at a World Cup race, injured her
knee once more in Val d'Isere, France.
"It was Tiger's first time at a World Cup race and I was really
hoping to win my 60th as a present for him," said Vonn who with 59
victories in the competition is three short of the women's record
held by Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell.
Vonn still believed she could recover in time for Sochi, aiming to
compete at her fourth straight Olympics, but faced the grim reality
"After the incident in Val d'Isere an MRI showed an MCL (medial
collateral ligament) sprain which, coupled with the torn ACL, has
made it impossible to stabilize her knee and be ready to safely ski
again next month," Vonn's public relations team said in a statement.
"She will have surgery shortly and is expected to make a full
recovery in time for the 2014-15 World Cup season and the 2015 world
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Vonn tried to put an optimistic spin on her personal
"On a positive note this means there will be an additional spot
so that one of my team mates can go for gold," she said in a
statement released by the U.S. skiing team.
"Thank you all so much for all of the love and support. I will
be cheering for all of the Olympians and especially team USA."
Bill Marolt, president of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard
Association, said he expected Vonn to be back at full strength
next season and that it was time for her compatriots to step up
in Sochi in her absence.
"I have every ounce of confidence that Lindsey will be at the
starting gate at the next World Cup season ready to compete. She
knows the hard work it takes to get to the top and still has
significant goals to achieve in what has been an incredible
career," said Marolt.
"While Lindsey won't be in Sochi we have a strong team that is
well prepared to challenge. Now is the time for those athletes
to step up."
Vonn is a six-times World Cup downhill champion, a four-times
World Cup super-G winner and a triple World Cup super combined
She landed the downhill gold medal at the Vancouver Olympics
four years ago and also picked up the bronze in the super-G at
the same event.
(Additional reporting by Martyn Herman and Steve Keating;
editing by Justin Palmer and Tony Jimenez)
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