Corinne Suter wins downhill training as Vonn rests knees
GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) — Lindsey Vonn has decided to skip the weekend’s World Cup races to give her ailing knees a chance to recover.
“Unfortunately racing this weekend in Garmisch isn’t in the cards,” Vonn said in an Instagram post on Thursday. “My knee is still not ready to race. I am working as hard as I can to be back as soon as possible.”
Vonn skipped the first downhill training run on Thursday before deciding against competing in Saturday’s downhill race and Sunday’s super-G on the almost three-kilometer (1.8-mile) Kandahar course.
It gives her more time to heal what she described Wednesday as “an impact injury to my peroneal nerve” that had caused her so much pain in both knees as she failed to finish a super-G in Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy three days earlier.
Vonn, the most successful female skier in World Cup history, had hinted at immediate retirement after the race in Cortina, but now it appears that she has targeted the world championships in Are, Sweden, which open on Feb. 5.
“My deepest apologies to everyone who was planning to come and cheer me on, including the Americans at the military base who have been so supportive over the years,” Vonn wrote. “I will cherish the memories I’ve made in Garmisch, especially my slalom win.”
Vonn has 82 World Cup wins, just four less than overall record-holder Ingemark Stenmark of Sweden. But injuries are taking their toll.
Vonn missed the first months of the season because of a left knee injury, and she finished no better than ninth in three races on her season debut in Cortina.
“Her spirit’s good. She’s positive. She’s working through the challenges,” United States head coach Paul Kristofic told The Associated Press after Vonn decided against racing the downhill. “She’s positive that she knows what the issue is and they’re hitting it with everything they can right now.”
Vonn’s official plan is still to retire in December following races in Lake Louise, Alberta, where she has won a record 18 times.
“In typical Lindsey style she’s not giving up, and working really hard to try and get ready,” Kristofic said.
Corinne Suter was fastest in Thursday’s training, finishing 0.69 seconds ahead of Sweden’s Lisa Hoernblad and 1.09 ahead of Austria’s Tamara Tippler.
Ramona Siebenhofer, who won both downhills in Cortina d’Apezzo last weekend, was 1.51 behind in ninth place, just ahead of Austrian teammate Nicole Schmidhofer.
Schmidhofer won the season’s opening two downhills at Lake Louise.
Olympic downhill champion Sofia Goggia was 1.85 back in 15th place in her first appearance this season. The Italian broke a bone in her right ankle during a fall in giant slalom training in Hintertux, Austria, in October.
“It was a very tranquil day, clearly without expectations,” Goggia said of her return. “I had an incredible smile on my face all morning.”
Vonn wished her Italian friend “all the best for your comeback.”