Vonn likely to skip races in Austria; Olympic availability uncertain
Lindsey Vonn has not skied for two weeks and will "most likely" skip next weekend’s World Cup speed races in Austria, her head coach said on Saturday, leaving her status for the Sochi Olympics up in the air.
Vonn remains in the United States after aggravating her surgically repaired right knee at a downhill race in Val d’Isere, France, on Dec. 21.
"She’s recovering and preparing and everything is (up) in the air," U.S. Ski Team women’s head coach Alex Hoedlmoser told The Associated Press on Saturday, adding that Vonn will "most likely not" race in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria, next weekend.
The next speed races after Altenmarkt are on one of Vonn’s favorite courses over Jan. 18-19 in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, where she has won seven times.
"Right now it’s a total open book," Hoedlmoser said. "We don’t know. It totally depends on how she recovers, how the knee feels, if she gets the strength back, the stability in the knee."
Vonn needed surgery in February to reconstruct two knee ligaments after a crash at the world championships, and partially re-tore one of them in November. She returned to the World Cup in Lake Louise, Alberta, in the first week of December and finished 40th and 11th in two downhills before placing fifth in super-G the next day.
But a loss of balance in Val d’Isere left her clutching her knee in another setback.
Hoedlmoser said Vonn has not trained on snow since the Val d’Isere incident. She is training in the gym and being checked by the team’s medical staff and her personal trainers from Red Bull.
Hoedlmoser last spoke to Vonn on Thursday.
He has already brought up the possibility that Vonn might not race again before Sochi, and he said he would have no problem putting her on the Olympic team even if she hasn’t competed for six weeks by the time of the Feb. 7 opening ceremony.
"Well, it’s Lindsey Vonn," he said. "She doesn’t have to prove anything to anybody. So if she’s ready to go we’re going to bring her. And if she’s not then not.
"We would like to see her get a couple more races in but the injury she has, she’s always taking some risks doing that. And (if she has) another setback then she might not be able to do the Olympics."
Vonn has already sat out technical races in Lienz, Austria, and will also miss Sunday’s slalom in Bormio.
Vonn hopes to defend her Olympic downhill title on Feb. 12, and would also be a top contender in the Sochi super-G three days later.