|Lindsey Vonn attends the 2013 CFDA FASHION AWARDS
Underwritten by Swarovski at Lincoln Center on June 3, 2013
in New York City.
PARK CITY, Utah – With 127 days remaining until the start of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, Lindsey Vonn announced she could make her racing debut earlier than she had previously planned — possibly as soon as the FIS World Cup opener in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 26.
“I'm quite a bit further than I anticipated and pretty much everyone else anticipated,” said Vonn, who spoke to reporters attending the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Media Summit via a video conference call. Vonn is in Ohio where her boyfriend, Tiger Woods, is set to compete in the Presidents Cup at the Muirfield Village Golf Club.
“Originally I had ruled (Soelden) out,” Vonn added. “It didn’t seem like it would be at all possible. Chile went so well. It’s definitely a possibility at this point.”
Originally, Vonn had targeted her racing comeback to be in Beaver Creek, Colo., Nov. 29-Dec. 1, on the new course built for women's races for the 2015 world championships, but today she said her return appears to be quite ahead of schedule.
Vonn, who suffered severe injuries to her right knee back in February while at the world championships, recently returned from a training session in Portillo, Chile, and said she was pleased with her recovery. At the end of last season, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association dedicated a physical therapist to work solely with Vonn.
“It definitely was a long wait for those first couple of runs but it was worth it,” Vonn said. “Everyone was happy that I was back in action.”
Vonn competed in five events during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, winning her first Olympic gold medal in the downhill and added a bronze medal in the super-G. With 59 world cup wins (three shy of tying Annemarie Moser-Proell’s women’s record), Vonn had been predicted to be a favorite again in Sochi. But then she injured her knee and there were questions as to whether she would be able to make a comeback in time for the Winter Games.
She underwent reconstructive knee surgery and now said her knee is “100 percent” and added that she does not have any pain or swelling. She did tell reporters, who were at the media summit in Park City, Utah, that she does not plan on racing slalom events this season.
With her knee feeling strong, the only question Vonn has now is how it will feel when she actually races again.
“It’s a matter of breaking through the unknown,” she said. “I haven’t pushed my knee as far as race mode. I haven’t gone through the final phase of my skiing yet.
“I’m confident that when I do, it will be good.”
Vonn made her Olympic Winter Games debut in Salt Lake City in 2002 when she was 17. Vonn turns 29 on Oct. 18. Should Vonn compete in Sochi, it would mark her fourth trip to the Winter Games.
The United States can enter four women in each alpine discipline. The team will be named Jan. 26, 2014.
Amy Rosewater is a freelance writer and editor for TeamUSA.org. A former sports reporter for The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, she has covered two Olympic Games and two Olympic Winter Games. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and USA Today.