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Olympic setback for reigning downhill champ Lindsey Vonn after Colorado crash

The American skier was on a training run during her recovery from knee ligament damage.

Image: Nathan Bilow/AP/Press Association Images

REIGNING OLYMPIC DOWNHILL champion and four-time overall World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn was injured yesterday in a crash during a downhill training run at Copper Mountain.

Vonn had spent the past few months rehabilitating her surgically repaired right knee in anticipation of a return to competition next week at Beaver Creek at a World Cup event on US snow as she prepared to defend her Olympic crown in February at Sochi.

Vonn was taken by sled off the Colorado Rocky Mountain slope and went to nearby Vail to be examined by orthopedic surgeon Bill Sterett, who performed the ligament repairs on Vonn last February, according to an e-mail to the Denver Post by Lewis Kay, Vonn’s publicist.

“She was not admitted to the hospital and is currently being evaluated by Dr. Sterett back in Vail,” Kay told the newspaper.

“We expect to have clarity on the situation in the next 24 hours. We will provide updates when we know more and appreciate your patience.”

Any serious injury would be a major setback to Vonn’s golden repeat dream but re-injuring her right knee, which was hurt last February when she crashed at the world championships in Austria, might be the end of her Sochi bid.

Next week’s World Cup event at Beaver Creek includes downhill training on November 26-28 and the season’s first women’s downhill race on November 29.

Vonn, 29, skipped the giant slalom season opener in Austria for more time to train and has said her main focus this season was the Olympics and that her knee was 100 percent healthy with no pain or swelling.

- © AFP, 2013

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