After a 10-month of absence from the sport and a year and a half after a career-threatening tumble, two-time Olympic medalist Lindsey Vonn will be taking a gentle run on an alpine training area in Austria on Wednesday.
“One step at a time, but yeah, I’m excited to get back out there and to come back,” Vonn told the New York Times. “And I will be back.”
In February 2013, Vonn was airlifted out of the ski area in Schladming, Austria, when she tore two ligaments in her right knee and broke a bone in her lower leg during the super-G event at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. The fiercely competitive Vonn was nevertheless back in competition a mere 10 months later for the World Cup downhill, where a conservative approach left her finishing 40th of 60 starters. “I was expecting a lot more, but that’s just who I am,” Vonn told the Associated Press. “I hope to win every race I enter. It’s just not that simple.”
Then, in November 2013, Vonn crashed and ruptured her surgically rebuilt anterior cruciate ligament during a high-speed training exercise in France. She ruefully gave up her hopes to compete in the Sochi Winter Olympics in January.
Speaking to reporters this week, the Vail, Colorado-based skier told reporters she was determined to enter the 2018 games in South Korea. That would be her fourth Olympics. ““I’ll only be 33 years old,” Vonn told the Times. “People wonder if my body will hold up. I’m very confident it will.”
Under the guidance of Pascal Hasler, who joined the U.S. ski team as an assistant coach in 2013, Vonn says she will concentrate her efforts on the speed races and the super-G.
“I need to have another chance to defend my Olympic gold medal in the downhill,” she told the Times. “I knew that in January as soon as I mentally accepted that I couldn’t race in the Sochi Olympics. I want another chance to compete.”