Barcelona, Spain – Even though she raced in Sunday’s super combined in Andorra after injuring her knee a day earlier in a crash in super G, Lindsey Vonn is heading home to treat three knee fractures, ending her World Cup season early.
Right now Vonn maintains a small 28-point lead over her biggest challenger for the World Cup, Switzerland’s Lara Gut, but that lead is sure to quickly evaporate without Vonn in the starting gate.
Vonn, 31, believed that she sustained only a hairline fracture to her kneecap in Saturday’s crash. Following Sunday’s combined, however, she traveled to Barcelona, where an MRI and a CT scan confirmed that the injury was more significant than originally thought.
“The traditional X-rays that were taken that afternoon showed a hairline fracture, but the tibial plateau appeared to be stable and did not pose significant risk to competing,” Vonn explained in a statement. “So I raced on Sunday. After the Super Combined on Sunday, I went to Barcelona where more precise MRI and CT equipment was available and scans were performed on Tuesday morning. Those images showed that there was not just one hairline fracture, but in fact three. And the fractures are not hairline, but instead they are significant enough that they are not sufficiently stable to permit me to safely continue skiing.”
Vonn said that any further damage could hurt her chances of skiing in the future.
“With the world championships in St. Moritz next year and the Winter Olympics in South Korea the following year, I cannot take that risk,” Vonn said, adding that her decision to leave the World Cup circuit before the end of the season was “one of the toughest decisions of my career.”