Vonn skipping World Cup downhill to rest ailing knees

January 24, 2019
FILE - In this Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019 filer, United States' Lindsey Vonn holds a bunch of flowers after completing an alpine ski, women's World Cup super-G in Cortina D'Ampezzo, Italy. It seemed like destiny played a role on Sunday when Mikaela Shiffrin won what could very well turn out to be Lindsey Vonn's last race. Vonn broke down emotionally after she failed to finish a World Cup super-G on knees so worn down that she describes them as "bone on bone." Shiffrin then came down nine racers later and won her first speed race at the premier stop on the women's circuit. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta, File )

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) — Lindsey Vonn has decided to skip Saturday’s World Cup downhill to give her ailing knees a chance to recover.

“She just needs some more time,” United States head coach Paul Kristofic told The Associated Press after Thursday’s captains’ meeting.

Vonn had already skipped the first training run on the almost three-kilometer (1.8-mile) Kandahar course and she needed to take part in the second on Friday to compete in Saturday’s race, per International Ski Federation rules.

But Vonn decided Thursday it was too soon “after accessing where she is with her therapy team,” Kristofic said.

Vonn, the most successful female skier in World Cup history, hinted at immediate retirement on Sunday after failing to finish a super-G in Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy due to severe pain in both of her knees.

On Wednesday, Vonn said the issue was a “due to an impact injury to my peroneal nerve” and that “now that we know the problem the next issue is fixing it.”

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.

It remains to be seen if she will take part in Sunday’s super-G race.

“We don’t know. It’s still a decision to be made,” Kristofic said. “Her spirit’s good. She’s positive. She’s working through the challenges. She’s positive that she knows what the issue is and they’re hitting it with everything they can right now.”

Vonn’s initial plan had been to retire in December following races in Lake Louise, Alberta, where she has won a record 18 times.

That remains the plan.

“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.”


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