World Cup ski racer Lindsey Vonn was airlifted to a hospital in Austria on Tuesday after crashing during the world championships. It appears she injured her knee and may need surgery.
Copyright NPR. View this article on npr.org.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. For skier Lindsey Vonn, the racing season is over. Today, at the World Championships, the American Alpine skiing star crashed. She injured her right knee. Still, as we hear from NPR's Tom Goldman, U.S. ski officials expect Vonn will be ready for next year's Winter Olympics.
TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Lindsey Vonn was about halfway through her super-G run at the World Championships in Schladming, Austria, just slightly off the lead. She went over a jump and lost her balance on the landing as heard on this Austrian language broadcast.
(SOUNDBITE OF SPORTS BROADCAST)
GOLDMAN: U.S. ski team spokesman Tom Kelly was watching the race online in Utah.
TOM KELLY: There was nothing about it that caused any greater concern for me than other crashes that I've seen.
GOLDMAN: But concern came after when the medical report revealed Vonn tore ligaments in her right knee, her ACL and MCL, and had a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau, the spot in the knee, according to Kelly, where the lower leg bone and upper leg bone meet.
KELLY: This is the most significant injury that she's had and it's one, though, she can come back from.
GOLDMAN: Vonn's list of career injuries is almost as long as her list of accomplishments, which includes gold and bronze medals at the 2010 Winter Olympics and 59 World Cup victories, second most all-time. Two years ago, she withdrew from the world championships because of a concussion. She won her Vancouver Olympic medal skiing on a painful bruised shin. At the 2006 games, she had a terrible-looking crash in training, but came back several days later and competed.
The next Winter Olympics in Russia are a year away. Tom Kelly says Vonn, who's 28, already is talking about mending and being ready. He says today after the accident Vonn texted her teammate Julia Mancuso a congratulatory message. Mancuso, starting just moments after Vonn crashed, won a bronze medal in the super-G. With Vonn out for the season, there'll be more attention on the U.S. women's team that's ranked first in the world in speed events, downhill and super-G. Again, Tom Kelly.
KELLY: Alice McKennis has won the World Cup downhill this year. She's a skier out of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Mammoth Mountain's Stacey Cook has been on the podium this year, along with New Hampshire's Leeanne Smith.
GOLDMAN: And in women's slalom, 17-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin is an emerging star, having won three World Cup events this season. Tom Goldman, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.