For many, Lindsey Vonn’s 2013 crash at the Alpine world championships in Austria is hard to watch. The Olympian was competing in the Super-G event in Austria when she wiped out during her run.
Vonn’s right knee bent in an awkward direction as she landed a jump and she ended up barreling down the mountain. In the video above, you can hear Vonn yelling out in pain.
Shortly after the crash, the United States ski team’s medical director, Kyle Wilkens, confirmed that Vonn had torn the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) in her right knee. She also suffered a fracture in her tibia. Vonn needed knee surgery and was forced the end the season early in order to take time to rehab.
Doctors were optimistic about Vonn’s recovery and many believed that she would return to the slopes in “full force.”
“There’s a very good chance she could return at full force. Typically, the A.C.L. alone will keep her out six to eight months, at least at the high, intense level of skiing she’s used to. The M.C.L. can often heal on its own. And a fracture with an A.C.L. is commonly a minor component,” Dr. Tom Hackett, a team physician with the United States Ski and Snowboard Association, told the New York Times shortly after Vonn’s injury. “Each case has variables, and they will likely take more tests before there is a real treatment plan. But we’ve had a lot of skiers and snowboarders come back in a year and do very well,” he added.
Vonn’s knee injury happened just one year before the Sochi Olympics in Russia. While recovery time for such an injury is generally less than one year, Vonn had a long road ahead of her — and it wasn’t all smooth sailing.
After recovering from surgery and taking the time to do physical therapy, Vonn slowly got back to training. However, in December 2013, she injured her right knee again while skiing in Val d’ Isere, France.
“An MRI showed an MCL sprain, which coupled with the torn ACL, has made it impossible to stabilize her knee and be ready to safely ski again next month,” her publicist said in a statement, announcing that Vonn would not be able to compete in the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi.
In December 2017, Vonn crashed in the downhill event in Lake Louise. Although the crash looked gnarly, she was able to walk away from it on her own. She appeared unscathed. You can see a video of the crash below.
Vonn has decided not to compete in slalom events in the 2018 Winter Games. However, she will be competing in a few other alpine disciplines, including the Super-G. The event will be broadcast in the United States on Friday, February 16.
Despite her past injuries, she is ready to go.
“I have the same mental approach that I had when I was 18,” she told Sports Illustrated.
You can also catch Vonn in the Women’s downhill on Tuesday, February 20, and in the Women’s combined, which will take place next week.