Vonn says she'll 'work as hard as humanly possible' to race in next year's Olympics

By Real Vail
Real AspenFebruary 6, 2013
Vail's Lindsey Vonn issued a statement on Wednesday -- a day after blowing out her right knee at the World Championships in Schladming, Austria -- saying she'll "work as hard as humanly possible to be ready to represent my country next year in Sochi."

Sochi, Russia, is the site of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, where NBC had already started billing Vonn as one of the stars of the Games. Now the Ski and Snowboard Club Vail product is headed home for surgery at the Steadman Clinic.

That surgery to repair a torn ACL, MCL and broken femur will occur in Vail soon, Vonn's father, Alan Kildow, told the Associated Press.

Dr. Tom Hackett, team doctor for the U.S. Ski Team and a surgeon at the Steadman Clinic, told AP Vonn is facing six to eight months before she'll be back on skis and able to start training.
Lindsey Vonn in action before crashing in Tuesday's World Championships super-G (Getty Images/U.S. Ski Team).

"It's not like at six months you say, 'OK, you can get back on a super-G course," Hackett told AP. "There's a progression to getting back on skis, getting back to taking some easy runs, getting back to some gates, and working your way back to some steeper terrain. There's a whole return to snow progression that we've developed over many years."

Dr. William Sterett of Vail-Summit Orthopaedics, who's been Vonn's surgeon since she was a young racer, told the AP on Wednesday that he'll operate on the 28-year-old next week.

A women's World Cup super-G and downhill are scheduled for December on the new women's speed course adjacent to the men's Birds of Prey course in Beaver Creek. The Winter Olympics are scheduled for February in Russia.

"First off I want to say thank you to the amazing medical staff that cared for me," Vonn said Wednesday in a prepared statement. "I plan on returning to Vail as soon as I can to have the necessary surgeries.

"I am also grateful to my fans for the outpouring of support, which has really helped me stay positive. I can assure you that I will work as hard as humanly possible to be ready to represent my country next year in Sochi."

Vonn, whose name became synonymous with the "Vonn-couver" Winter Olympics in British Columbia, Canada, won the downhill gold and super-G bronze there. She's won six World Cup races this season, and stands second all-time with 59 career wins. She needs just four next season to become the winningest women's ski racer in history.

Vonn has a sponsorship deal with Vail Resorts that includes being the pacesetter for Lindsey Vonn's EpicMix racing that replaced NASTAR at all of Vail's ski areas this season.

Vail officials have yet to release a statement regarding Vonn's injury in the super-G at Worlds on Tuesday.

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