World Cup champ Fenninger likely out for season with knee injury
SOELDEN, Austria — Two-time overall champion Anna Fenninger is
likely to miss the entire World Cup season after seriously damaging her
right knee during a training crash Wednesday, three days before the
Alpine skiing circuit starts.
The Austrian skier was set to undergo
surgery later Wednesday after tearing ligaments in a fall during a giant
slalom run. The 26-year-old Fenninger was transported by helicopter to a
clinic in nearby Innsbruck after the incident.
"Anna has seriously damaged ligaments in
the right knee, which requires surgery," Austrian team doctor Christian
Hoser said. "She’s got a tear of the medial collateral and of the
cruciate ligament. Also, she has torn the patellar tendon in the right
knee, which also needs surgery."
It was not immediately clear how long
Fenninger will be sidelined for, but athletes often need more than six
months to recover from torn knee ligaments.
"It’s a tough injury," Fenninger’s
personal coach, Meinhard Tatschl, told the Austria Press Agency. "We’ll
have to wait until after the operation to make a prognosis."
Tatschl said the crash initially looked harmless.
"It was a normal training run, the
course was perfect, not bumpy," the coach said. "It was an unlucky
crash, nothing unusual. This kind of crashes happens all the time. She
slipped away on the inner ski. Her knee hurt a bit … but only later
the pain increased."
Fenninger, who is the GS world champion,
won the season-opening giant slalom last year, sharing victory with
Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States. She went on the win her second
straight overall title, coming from behind to beat closest rival Tina
Maze of Slovenia. Maze has taken a break from racing and won’t compete
The injury comes after a turbulent
off-season preparation time for Fenninger, who struggled with another
knee injury and off-piste troubles.
The patella, which connects knee cap
and tibia, has been causing her problems for years. The pain forced her
to quit a practice session as a precautionary measure last month. She
missed several weeks of training on snow but said last week on Austrian
TV she was ready to race the season-opener.
Fenninger’s preparations were also
disturbed as she quarreled for months with the Austrian ski federation
about her manager, Klaus Kaercher, and about her wish to have one of the
team physicians working exclusively for her. Fenninger quit a national
training camp in Cyprus in May, and even threatened to leave the
The conflict erupted when Fenninger
appeared in an advertising campaign for Mercedes, a rival brand of one
of the governing body’s main sponsors, Audi.
Mercedes later retracted the campaign and Fenninger parted ways with her manager.
Fenninger, who is the Olympic super-G
champion, has won four gold medals and eight in total at Olympics and
world championships. She has won 14 World Cup races.