Battered once more by injury, Lindsey Vonn begins what has become an all-too-familiar cycle of recovery and rehab.
The four-time overall World Cup champion broke her arm during a crash while training in Colorado. She said on Facebook the wipeout happened at Copper Mountain on Thursday and she had surgery that night in nearby Vail to fix the bone in her upper arm that was “severely fractured.” Vonn posted X-ray pictures of her right arm on social media.
On her Twitter account, Vonn wrote: “I don’t know why these things happen to me but I know I am a fighter and I refuse to let it bring me down! I will never give up!”
Late last February, Vonn sustained three significant breaks near her knee joint during a super-G crash in Andorra. She tried to ski through the pain – she was in contention for the World Cup overall title – only to end her season a few days later. She was thinking long term – toward the 2017 world championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland, and the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.
The 32-year-old Vonn has been steadily healing and was tentatively hoping to be back for the World Cup races in Lake Louise, Alberta, in early December. Now, there’s no timetable for her return to the start gate.
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“While I am beyond frustrated by this latest setback, at least my knees are OK and I will return to the slopes as soon as possible, as I always do!” Vonn posted on Facebook.
Over the years, Vonn’s list of ailments has continued to pile up. She hurt her knee in training and missed two races at the 2007 worlds. She also raced with a severely bruised shin at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics when she won the downhill. But she couldn’t defend her crown four years later in Sochi because of a serious knee injury.
She broke her left ankle in New Zealand during training camp before last season. In November 2015, Vonn needed stitches in her right thumb after trying to break up a fight between her dogs over a Frisbee.
Through all the adversity, Vonn became the winningest female World Cup racer with 76 victories. She has closed the gap on the career mark of 86 victories by Ingemar Stenmark of Sweden.
This fall, Vonn has made the rounds promoting her new book, “Strong is the New Beautiful,” which provides tips in such areas as strength, fitness, food and attitude.