Something’s happening. What it is ain’t exactly clear |

Something’s happening. What it is ain’t exactly clear

Lindsey Vonn crashed in training. Now, if Vonn crashed in training with Tiger Woods teeing up a 2-iron stinger at her, then we'd have some serious news. (Or maybe, if Vonn, while skiing, is dodging Tiger's shots, is she training for tech events?) Ski Racing Magazine, which originally reported the crash at Copper Mountain on Tuesday, said that she was going to have an MRI on "the injured knee." (Which knee? The knee she may have injured Tuesday or the knee that blew up in Schladming, Austria, at Worlds last winter? If you're wondering, the knee previously injured was her right.) The U.S. Ski Team's site says that, "she was not admitted to the hospital but was undergoing further evaluation, as is typical after a crash." John Meyer, of The Denver Post, reported that through Vonn's publicist that Dr. William Sterett was evaluating Vonn here after the crash. Tom Kelly, who is the U.S. Ski Team's spokesman, told the Associated Press, "We have no reason to believe it's anything significant right now." Favorite headline of the day? "Tiger Woods' girlfriend Lindsey Vonn has knee examined after skiing accident." Really? (That peach came from So, what do we know? • She crashed. • Vonn was brought down in a sled, and then walked off with the aid of coaches. • Vonn met with Dr. William Sterett. • The Internet also really doesn't like the fact that she is dating Tiger Woods. What can we infer? • Crashes happen. They can look ugly or innocent. Vonn's been fine after some spectacular ones (See Torino, Italy, Olympics, 2006) and not so fine (Schladming). • The brought-down-in-a-sled part is causing a lot of speculation. That may or may not mean anything. I suspect if Vonn stubbed her toe, they'd bring her down in a sled. Let's face it — she's the face of American skiing. They're being careful. • It's probably good to meet with Dr. Sterett. • I love golf. I love ski racing. I don't care. Stop it now. Seriously, does anyone know if Ted Ligety is dating anyone? Does anyone care? (No, because Ted Ligety is not a smoking-hot woman. Now, there's some insight. Actually, that would be my point.) What's the rumor mill? • Vonn came back too early and she got hurt: Maybe. Maybe not. She has Sterett, one of the best orthopaedic doctors in the world working on her. Vonn could have overruled him when it came to her return, but we're really out on a limb here. Of course, there are different rules for Vonn because, well, she's Lindsey Vonn. But she's not Bode Miller-like when it comes to flagrant disregard for the U.S. Ski Team and any other figure of authority. She's a unique physical and mental specimen. That is a fact. Otherwise, she wouldn't be at 59 career World Cup wins, 17 globes, two Worlds golds and Olympic downhill gold. She could very well have been ready to go. • Which knee is it?: This would be a key question. We don't know. Ski Racing Magazine, again the media outlet which broke the story, is unclear. Did she re-do her right knee, the one that was injured? (Possible.) Did she crash on her reconstructed right knee and it held? (Possible.) Did she hurt her left knee, which has nothing to do with her injury last winter? (Possible.) Let's wait until we find out which knee, people. • What does Tom Kelly's quote mean? He said, "We have no reason to believe it's anything significant right now." Of course, Kelly is with the U.S. Ski Team, and it's his job to spin. We'll stipulate that. Kelly, on the other hand, is usually a pretty straight shooter. I'd file that quote away. Just a gut feeling. • Vonn is a bit of a drama queen: Please don't write me nasty emails. She's totally allowed to be, as far as I'm concerned. Remember just before the 2010 Winter Olympics? She had the shin injury and talked about how she might not be able to compete. She won gold in the downhill and bronze in the super-G. • Tuesday's crash was karma for dating Tiger Woods: AAAAAIIIIEEEE! Please kill me now. What's the verdict? It's total conjecture, combined with having covered some ski racing: My bet is that she crashed on the previously injured right knee, got a scare, got the knee checked out with the doc, and will be racing at Birds of Prey next week. Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 and

Tiger and Lindsey: No, we’re not talking about that

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson really wrecked it for everyone. On Christmas Eve 2011, he ripped his ACL and MCL. Eight months later, he was back for Week 1 of the NFL season and went on to rush for more than 2,000 yards. That was a tremendous feat, so take nothing away from him. But that was just not normal. The bigger issue is that Peterson's comeback has raised the expectation that other athletes should be able to return from severe injuries more quickly. Tiger trouble And that brings us to Tiger Woods playing on Friday at the PGA Championship at Valhalla. I know people like to impose a morality play on his decline when it comes to winning majors, but that doesn't really actually fit with the facts. Woods' left knee was a wreck in 2008 when he beat Rocco Mediate in that memorable U.S. Open. It was Thanksgiving 2009 when the whole scandal broke. Woods injuring his left knee wasn't surprising, given the force with which he swings. As a right-handed golfer, he comes down on that knee, and it eventually gave. Back injuries are as common to golf as are three-putts. Woods' back has been an issue since last year and he had surgery for it on March 31. He came back in just more than three months, playing in the British Open, and it's clear by his performance at Hoylake and subsequent tournaments, including missing the cut on Friday at the PGA, has shown that he just wasn't ready for a return. Why come back so quickly? Tiger is just 38, old for most sports, but not golf. There is undoubtedly pressure for him to win a major for the first time since Torrey Pines in 2008, to get the monkey off his back from the morality play that is his life, in the eyes of some. Of course, the ultimate goal for Woods is five more major wins to surpass Jack Nicklaus' record of 18. Had he taken this year off, he'd still have 40 majors in which to compete before he turns 50, which might not be the age barrier it once was given golf-fitness programs have come a long way. (I like Tiger's odds of winning 12 percent of the tourneys he enters.) Lindsey Learning? Bringing it closer to home and disregarding any society-page connections between the two, Lindsey Vonn blew out her knee on Feb. 5, 2013, at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Schladming, Austria, in a horrific crash. Likely because the upcoming 2013-14 season was an Olympic year and Vonn was the defending downhill gold medalist, she seemed to hurry things and ended up doing her knee again during early-season training over at Copper. Vonn gave it a go at Lake Louise, Alberta, last December finishing 40th and 11th in downhills and fifth in a super-G. It was an admirable attempt, but she clearly wasn't herself on a course that she regularly eats for breakfast. (She had won seven-straight starts previously there and 14 times in all at Lake Lindsey.) Vonn went under the knife on Jan. 15. Will she learn from her own experience, not to mention from those Tiger has experienced? Obviously, we have a wee bit of a to-do this February in Beaver Creek. The Worlds super-G is Feb. 3 and the downhill is Feb. 6 on Raptor. The women's World Cup has the Soelden, Austria, giant slalom on Oct. 25 and the traditional slalom on Nov. 15 in Levi, Finland. Don't do it, Lindsey. Let Mikaela Shiffrin take care of those. Skip those two races and you add a month-plus to your recovery. Aspen hosts a GS and a slalom over Thanksgiving weekend. Skip them. I'd even have her skip Lake Louise in December. (Seriously, Lindsey, what on earth do you have to prove on that hill?) Speaking of December, take it off. There are three weeks in a row of speed events in January with Bad Klenkirchelm, Austria, Cortina, Italy, and St. Moritz, Switzerland, leading up to Worlds. That gives you nearly a full year off before returning on Jan. 7, the first day of training for Bad Klenkrichelm, and plenty of speed to get ready for Beaver Creek. Think about the bigger picture. For Vonn, it's about becoming the all-time greatest skier, regardless of gender. That means winning at Worlds again — she won twice in 2009 — and adding to her total of 59 World Cup wins. (Globes for discipline championships aren't really necessary at this point. She has 17. She can use them for doorstops.) Annemarie Moser-Proll holds the women's mark with 62 World Cup wins, and Ingemar Stenmark sits at 86. Sure, Vonn probably feels that there are three wins for the taking alone at Lake Louise in December, but is it worth the risk? If her knee goes again in a Soelden GS or up at Lake Louise, that's three times in two years, and her career would be in jeopardy. Lindsey, you're not Adrian Peterson. And that's good in a way. He probably can't ski too well. Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, and @cfreud.

Crystal ball sees success for American women

Tiger Woods had an 8 on No. 15 at TPC Scottsdale during the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Friday. I've gotten an 8 on that hole, so that's really bad news for Tiger. Many refer to Lindsey Vonn as Tiger's girlfriend. Leaving aside the sexist view of this — we don't care with whom Ted Ligety, Andrew Weibrecht, Travis Ganong, Steve Nyman or Bode Miller are dating/married — there's the athletic viewpoint. Right now, Tiger is Vonn's boyfriend. As the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships come to town, it's time to appreciate Vonn's greatness. This is going to be her showcase. When she was battling back the first time from her blown up right knee, she ended up missing the Raptor test event in 2013 and the 2014 Winter Olympics. The tiger is ready to go, and, by tiger, we ain't talking about the golfer. The picks for the women at the Championships: Super-G (Tuesday) Good trivia: Who's the only woman to win a super-G on Birds of Prey? (This is Birds of Prey, not Raptor, so the answer is not Lara Gut, of Switzerland.) Yep, Vonn. When Europe didn't have any snow, a super-G got moved here, and the women took to Birds of Prey, without Golden Eagle Jump. (I was the unfortunate one to be the bearer of that news. She wanted to do that, too. Good thing she didn't take it out on the messenger.) Yes, Raptor is a different course, but the pressure is the constant in this experiment. Everyone expected her to win that day in 2011, and she did without her best race. The results, and there is a big enough sample, indicate her knee is just fine. She's won the last two super-Gs in the World Cup. Make it three. Gold: Vonn, USA Silver: Gut, Switzerland Bronze: Anna Fenninger, Austria Downhill (Friday) It is worth noting that there are a bunch of really good skiers out there, whose names are not Lindsey Vonn. Gut has had success on Raptor. Fenninger is on her way to becoming the next Austrian great. The person who could be the real party-pooper from an American/Vonn perspective is Tina Maze. Barring something strange, Maze will win the overall World Cup title this year. She leads Fenninger, 985-801, and the two closest pursuers after that are Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin, both of whom aren't participating in all four disciplines. I'm writing this merely as insurance in the case that Maze busts out and newspapers everywhere run with the headline, "A-Maze-ing." Gold: Vonn, USA Silver: Maze, Slovenia Bronze: Fenninger, Austria Super-combined (Feb. 9) OK, I went back and forth on the men's combined. This is a no-brainer. Maze. There's a reason she's the overall leader. She does everything well. What's more, there are 45 women who have competed in the downhill this season, and only two of them have points in the slalom. Wanna guess who's one of them? Maze's fourth in the downhill with 246 points and third in the slalom with 374. Austria's Nicole Hosp is the other. Julia Mancuso grabs bronze just because she always snags a medal at Worlds. Gold: Maze, Slovenia Silver: Hosp, Austria Bronze: Mancuso, USA Giant slalom (Feb. 12) The Vonn-Mikaela Shiffrin comparison is odious. It's not fair to Mikaela for her to be "The Next Lindsey Vonn." It's also not correct. A better comparison is Mikaela and Bode Miller with Mikaela being a slightly more thoughtful and tactful person. Vonn started in speed and has always been about speed, though, to her credit, she's won three giant slaloms and two slaloms. Miller started as a tech skier and then grew through all the disciplines, which seems to be Shiffrin's course. Now as to GS, everyone wants to see her strike gold here. She'll medal, but not the top step. We've just got to remember that, despite home snow, there are a lot of good racers out there. Gold: Fenninger, Austria Silver: Maze, Slovenia Bronze: Shiffrin, USA Slalom (Feb. 14) None of this is to say that Shiffrin won't be leaving Beaver Creek without a gold. Gold: Shiffrin, USA Silver: Frida Hansdotter, Sweden Bronze: Kathrin Zettel, Austria Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, and @cfreud.

Injured Lindsey Vonn skipping Sochi Olympics

Lindsey Vonn will miss the Sochi Olympics because of a right knee injury, leaving the Winter Games without one of its biggest stars. The 29-year-old skier from Vail, Colo., announced her decision Tuesday, exactly one month before the opening ceremony in Russia. Her personal publicist, Lewis Kay, said in a statement Vonn will have surgery "shortly." In a Facebook posting, Vonn said she is "devastated" to miss the Olympics, "but the reality has sunk in that my knee is just too unstable to compete at this level." She took home two medals from the 2010 Vancouver Games, including becoming the first American woman to win an Olympic gold in the downhill. Vonn is also a four-time overall World Cup champion, the most recognized name in Alpine skiing — and, as it happens, the girlfriend of Tiger Woods. Add it all up, and she would have been the focus of plenty of media coverage in Sochi, and certainly a main character in NBC's coverage for a U.S. audience. But Vonn tore two ligaments in her right knee during a high-speed crash at the world championships last February, sidelining her for about 10 months. She re-tore her surgically repaired ACL in a training crash in November, a key setback. Then, after returning to competition in early December by finishing 40th, 11th and fifth in a set of World Cup races at Lake Louise, Alberta, Vonn sprained her MCL during a race at Val d'Isere, France, last month. "I did everything I possibly could to somehow get strong enough to overcome having no ACL," Vonn said Tuesday via Facebook. "I'm having surgery soon so that I can be ready for the World Championships at home in Vail next February," she wrote. "On a positive note, this means there will be an additional spot so that one of my teammates can go for gold. Thank you all so much for all of the love and support. I will be cheering for all of the Olympians and especially team USA!" Mikaela Shiffrin, the reigning world champion in slalom, and Julia Mancuso, a three-time Olympic medalist, will now be the American women with the best chance of stepping on the Alpine skiing podium in Sochi. Shiffrin, the U.S. teenager who has been labeled the "next Vonn" by some, wrote on Twitter that it's "hard to swallow" that Vonn won't be competing in Sochi. She added she's "incredibly impressed" by Vonn's determination, calling her a "hero." Another American ski racer, Stacey Cook, posted on Facebook: "Bummed Lindsey Vonn. Our team is not the same without you. You leave big shoes to fill for the rest of the year. …" After skiing in two downhills and a super-G at Lake Louise, Vonn sounded optimistic, declaring she would be in Sochi, "fighting for my medal." But a couple of weeks later in France, during a downhill — with Woods watching in the finish area — Vonn lost her balance, sending her left ski into the air, and forcing all her weight onto her right knee. She grimaced as she pulled up, then clutched that right knee. Kay said Tuesday that an MRI after that episode "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." Vonn's motivation for a return, after the first procedure on her knee, clearly was Sochi. She was always a step ahead of schedule in her rehab, returning to snow about a month earlier than expected. Now, she says her incentive is to be ready for the 2015 world championships in Colorado in Vail/Beaver Creek. There's also this: Vonn needs three wins to match Austrian great Annemarie Moser-Proell's record of 62 victories in World Cup races. "In looking ahead, I have every ounce of confidence that Lindsey will be in the starting gate next World Cup season ready to compete," said Bill Marolt, the CEO and president of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association who will step down soon after the Sochi Games. "She knows the hard work it takes to get to the top and still has significant goals to achieve in what has been an incredible career." The Americans captured eight medals four years ago in Vancouver, their highest total at any Olympics and twice as many as any other country. That figure may be tough to reach with Vonn sidelined and Bode Miller, who won three medals, trying to return to form after sitting out all last season with a left knee injury. What's more, three-time Olympic medalist Julia Mancuso is struggling. Off to a poor start during pre-Olympic races, Mancuso recently headed home for a short break. "We have a strong team that is well prepared to challenge," Marolt said. "The women's speed team is experienced with five athletes who have achieved World Cup podiums and a seasoned veteran in Julia Mancuso who has won three Olympic medals in her career. Now is the time for those athletes to step up."

Vonn says relationship with Woods is over

SAN FRANCISCO — The relationship between Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn is over, with both taking to social media to say they were parting ways. But even in a breakup, they stuck together in the announcement. "After nearly three years together, Tiger and I have mutually decided to end our relationship," Vonn said Sunday on her Facebook page. "I will always cherish the memories that we've created together. Unfortunately, we both lead incredibly hectic lives that force us to spend a majority of our time apart. He and his beautiful family will always hold a special place in my heart." Vonn, an Olympic ski champion, this year set the record for most World Cup titles. "Lindsey and I have mutually decided to stop dating," Woods said on his website. "I have great admiration, respect and love for Lindsey and I'll always cherish our time together. She has been amazing with Sam and Charlie and my entire family. Unfortunately, we lead very hectic lives and are both competing in demanding sports. It's difficult to spend time together." Both are divorced. They were last seen in public at the Masters, where Vonn accompanied Woods' children — 7-year-old daughter Sam, 6-year-old son Charlie — when they caddied for him in the Par 3 Tournament. Woods was in Italy in January when Vonn broke the World Cup record, and he was photographed with a skeleton-pattern mask that when dropped revealed he was missing a tooth. Woods later said a videographer bumped into him and jarred it loose. He also was in Beaver Creek where she competed before the home crowd at the Alpine World Ski Championships in February, right after Woods announced he was taking time away from golf because his game wasn't up to his standards. He shot an 82 in the Phoenix Open to miss the cut by 12 shots. He withdrew after 11 holes at Torrey Pines the following week with tightness in his back. Vonn had become a regular at the majors when Woods played. She also was at the Hero World Challenge that he hosts in December in Orlando, Florida. Rumors they were involved began during her knee injury in 2013 amid reports he had sent his plane for her. Given his demand for privacy, it was rare when Woods went public in March 2013 to announce they were dating. It was accompanied by portraits of both on Facebook and his website. Woods said at Bay Hill that year he wanted to limit what he called the "stalkarazzi" and the "sleazy websites" that were following them. Both have been recovering from injuries, and Vonn said recently on "Late Night with Seth Myers" that they've helped each other. "He's been through a lot of injuries, and so have I," Vonn said. "It's nice to be in the gym with someone that knew what you were going through. And we kind of just pushed each other back to health." That appearance led to an amusing exchange when Meyers asked if she had always been interested in golf. Vonn playfully squirmed in her seat before saying, "I love golf." It was pointed out that for Woods to attend a downhill event, the race would be much shorter than a round of golf. "It's like five hours," Vonn said. "It's a long time."

Lindsey Vonn cleared to return to snow

VAIL — Lindsey Vonn is ready to get back on snow. After suffering a serious knee injury at the World Championships last winter, she's undergone surgery, done months of rehab and put in hours upon hours in the gym. "I've spent so much time in the gym, I can barely take one more day," Vonn said. On Wednesday, she was — surprise — back in the gym in Vail. But she won't have to wait much longer to get on skis. Vonn has been cleared to return to snow and is headed to Portillo, Chile, on Friday to test out her surgically repaired right knee. The four-time overall World Cup alpine skiing champion and defending Olympic downhill gold-medal winner suffered a torn ACL and MCL and a lateral tibial plateau fracture in a nasty crash at the World Championships in Schladming, Austria, last February. Her doctor, William Sterett of Vail-Summit Orthopaedics, who performed the surgery, examined the knee Monday and gave her the go-ahead to get back onto skis. Vonn will go to Portillo and begin free-skiing on Sunday. Vonn was working out Wednesday at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail with her trainer, Martin Hager, of Red Bull. She said her repaired knee feels great and tests show that it is 98 percent as strong as her left knee. "I obviously missed that first training camp in New Zealand, but I feel like I'm right where I need to be and hopefully the training on snow goes just as well," Vonn said. "From a physical standpoint, I'm in great shape." The scar from the procedure was barely visible as Vonn went through balance, stretching and core exercises with Hager. "We are happy with her progress," Hager said, who has been working out with Vonn five to six days per week, three to four hours per day. "Looking good for starting skiing." Return for Beaver Creek? In Portillo, Vonn will start with some easy free-skiing and, if the knee responds well, increase volume and intensity. "Everything I see about her is that she is so determined to get back out there," Sterett said. "She doesn't just want to ski — she wants to start winning. Physically, it's going at least as well as we could have hoped." The 28-year-old Vonn is aiming to return to racing at the women's Birds of Prey races in Beaver Creek Nov. 29-Dec. 1, where racers will compete on the new women's downhill course that has been built for the 2015 World Championships. For this season, above all, her sights are set on the Olympics in February in Sochi, Russia. She will be aiming to peak then. "Of course I want to win in Beaver Creek, that's my goal, but the main goal for the season is definitely the Olympics," she said. "So if I don't start off really well, I'm not going to be that worried about it because I really want to build into it and really be ready for the Olympics." 'I'm happy' Vonn's relationship with Tiger Woods has brought her a new level of fame and scrutiny. They landed on the cover of celebrity magazines when they publicly announced their relationship in March. Vonn has attended many of Woods' tournaments for the past several months. She said she's been struck by how long the tournaments take. "It's like a marathon," she said. "I'm like a sprinter, and he's a marathon runner. … Four days and every single shot is important." She said she doesn't read celebrity magazines, and she doesn't care what they say about her. "I think that's one thing I've learned from Tiger is to have thicker skin, to be mentally tougher," Vonn said. "I don't feel like I'm any different. I don't feel like I'm more famous now because I date Tiger. I don't think that at all. I don't read any of that stuff. It doesn't bother me because I don't really care. What I care about is that I'm happy and I'm around people that I love and love me. That's what's important." Vonn said she is aiming to start training in Colorado as soon as there's snow to ski on. "Whenever the first resort opens here, I'll be here," Vonn said. "I would much rather be here than going back over to Europe, especially because I'm not doing Soelden (World Cup races in October). The media there is crazy. I'd rather stay at home."

At the top: Vonn breaks all-time World Cup wins record

CORTINA D'AMPEZZO, Italy — Lindsey Vonn won a super-G Monday for her record 63rd World Cup victory and celebrated with an embrace from a surprise visitor — boyfriend Tiger Woods. The American broke Annemarie Moser-Proell's 35-year-old record of 62 World Cup wins with a flawless run down the Olympia delle Tofane course, finishing 0.85 ahead of Anna Fenninger of Austria. Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein was third, 0.92 back. Wearing a mask, Woods weaved through the crowd unnoticed until he shared an emotional embrace with Vonn, who had no idea that the golfer was coming. "No way!" Vonn exclaimed when she spotted him. "I didn't think this could get any better than yesterday with my entire family here but now with Tiger here this is unbelievable," said Vonn. "I said, 'I can't believe you came.' And he said, 'I told you.'" Woods did not speak with reporters. Vonn tied the record of 62 victories when she won a downhill here Sunday. "I'm so happy to have finished the weekend with win No. 63. My family and Tiger is here. It's a really, really special day," she said. Vonn faced intense media pressure to match Moser-Proell in recent weeks. "I know it's a big achievement," Vonn said. "But I have to focus on the skiing. I can't let everyone else's expectations get into my head. So that was my goal this weekend, just trying to ski my best. And I thought I did a really good job." Moser-Proell, an Austrian great, established her record between 1970 and 1980. "Moser-Proell was skiing in the 70s and all the young people in Austria don't know what that record means," Fenninger said. "For the newer generation it's very important that Lindsey make history. … It's time to have a new record. She's very important for us, because in America she's a real superstar." Swedish standout Ingemar Stenmark holds the men's record of 86 wins. Vonn was relatively subdued in h er celebration, having said that win No. 62 was more important to her. She was the last of the favorites to come down and flashed a big smile when reaching the finish then did a slight fist pump. It was Vonn's first win in super-G this season and her fourth overall this campaign, showing a return to top form after two knee injuries kept her out of last year's Sochi Olympics. Perhaps more importantly, the win showed Vonn is dominating again just weeks before her home world championships in Vail and Beaver Creek, Colorado. Vonn was on track to shatter Moser-Proell's record two years ago before a high-speed crash at the 2013 world championships in Schladming, Austria, when she tore two ligaments in her right knee. She attempted to return for Sochi but re-injured her knee in Val d'Isere, France, in December, 2013, requiring a second surgery. The 30-year-old Vonn is planning to compete through the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. It was Vonn's ninth career win in Cortina, where she had her first podium result in 2004, putting her within one of Austrian Renate Goetschl's record 10 wins in the resort known as the Queen of the Dolomites. Vonn has won 32 downhills, 21 super-Gs, three giant slaloms, two slaloms and five combined races. Not included in those numbers are Vonn's gold medal in downhill at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, or her golds in downhill and super-G at the 2009 worlds in Val d'Isere. Moser-Proell won 36 downhills, 16 giant slaloms, three slaloms and seven combined races. The super-G was introduced two years after Moser-Proell retired. This race was originally scheduled for Sunday but was postponed due to heavy snowfall over the weekend, which pushed the program back.

Lindsey Vonn crashes at Copper Mountain while prepping for comeback

DENVER — Reigning Olympic downhill champion Lindsey Vonn crashed Tuesday while training in Copper Mountain, Colo., ahead of her planned return to racing following major knee surgery. U.S. Ski Team spokesman Tom Kelly said Vonn was taken down the hill on a sled, which he noted was "normal protocol" in such cases. Kelly said he was not sure whether Vonn hurt her surgically repaired right knee in the fall at the team's speed training center. "We have no reason to believe it's anything significant right now," Kelly told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. A spokesman for Vonn, Lewis Kay, issued a statement saying the ski racer was not admitted to a hospital and instead went home to Vail to be evaluated by the doctor who performed her knee surgery. Kay didn't specify the nature of her injuries. "We expect to have clarity on the situation in the next 24 hours," Kay said. Vonn, a four-time overall World Cup champion, tore ligaments in her right knee in a high-speed accident at the world championships in February. She has been aiming to return to World Cup competition next week in Beaver Creek, Colo.The Sochi Games are in February. Tuesday's crash was first reported by With Vonn feeling her knee was months ahead of schedule, she thought about pushing up her comeback to the season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, late last month. But she changed her mind, opting instead to continue to prepare. Vonn recently said her super-G is "some of the best super-G I've ever skied, but my downhill still needs a little more time." She's been taking practice runs in Copper Mountain, and posted on her Twitter account Monday: "Catching some air today in Downhill training." She also recently said that she's reluctantly been wearing a protective knee brace under doctor's orders. "It's in my best interest to play it safe," Vonn said. "I compromised and said that as long as I don't have to wear (the brace) for the Olympics, I'll be fine." The 29-year-old Vonn attended the NFL game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos on Sunday night, hanging out on the sideline with boyfriend Tiger Woods. Vonn needs just three more wins to match Austrian great Annemarie Moser-Proell's record of 62 World Cup race victories. And while Vonn insists her primary focus this season is being fully healthy for Sochi, she acknowledges that World Cup mark would hold special meaning. "There are many Olympic champions, but to be the No. 1 winningest World Cup racer of all time, you're alone on that list. You're at the top," Vonn said. "That would be more substantial for me and my legacy."

Vonn named honorary ambassador for Pyeongchang Olympics

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korean Olympic organizers have appointed U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn as an honorary ambassador for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang. Vonn is the first foreign individual selected for the role and she joins a list of high-profile South Korean sports stars including former Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na and Texas Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, Pyeongchang's organizing committee said Wednesday. "My goal for my entire career is to promote skiing, not just in America but across the world. It's an amazing sport," Vonn said in a news conference in Seoul. Vonn, 30, an Olympic gold medalist and the all-time wins leader in women's World Cup Alpine skiing with 67, missed the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, nursing a knee injury. She plans to compete in Pyeongchang and visited the construction site of the Games' alpine skiing venue this week. "My goals for the next Olympics are to try to win the gold medals," Vonn said. "The site looks very challenging … It's very steep and (with) a lot of jumps which I really like. I'm looking forward to seeing it with the snow on and actually being able to run the course." One of the most recognized winter sports figures in the U.S., Vonn recently announced that she ended her relationship of nearly three years with U.S. golfer Tiger Woods.

Vonn optimistic about Sochi despite new setback

VAL D'ISERE, France — Lindsey Vonn felt her injured right knee give way and for a moment it looked like her chances for another Olympic gold might be in jeopardy. Vonn had another scary run during the World Cup downhill in Val d'Isere, clutching her knee in pain after losing her balance and missing a gate on Saturday. But shortly afterward, she said no new damage had been done to the surgically repaired knee and her plans for the Sochi Olympics were still intact. "I didn't hurt myself more than I'm already hurt," said Vonn, the reigning Olympic downhill champion. "It was a small compression, and it was fully loaded on the right ski and my knee just completely gave out. I tried to pressure the ski again and it gave out again. I had no chance of making that gate, unfortunately." With boyfriend Tiger Woods watching from the bottom of the slope, Vonn skied out after her left ski came up in the air, putting all her weight on the troublesome right leg. The American was clearly distressed after pulling up and looked close to tears as she clutched her knee. Vonn needed surgery in February to reconstruct two knee ligaments after a crash at the world championships, and then partially re-tore one of them in November. She said she will give herself plenty of rest and expects to race again "probably sometime in January" as she follows a lighter program before the Olympics. "As much as time as I can give myself to really get as strong as I can, like I said, one maybe two races before the Olympics. That's it," Vonn said. "I'm going to play it safe and race minimal races, so I can get the confidence and the timing and the feeling of racing again. I'm really going to be safe and smart as I can." Woods accompanied Vonn to a World Cup race for the first time, standing in the finish area and watching the racers finish their runs. "He's very supportive and it's very fun to have him. This is his first World Cup and I think he enjoyed it," Vonn said. "I think he was a little bit more nervous because of my knee. He's worried about me, but he's happy to be here and I'm happy to have him." Schedule permitting, she'd like Woods to attend the races in Sochi. "Yeah. I love having him around and the more races he can come to the better," Vonn said. "But I'm not racing that much this year, unfortunately, so you probably won't see both of us around very much." With his hands stuffed in his pockets, golf's 14-time major champion waited for Vonn's run as the 19th starter. Shortly after Vonn went out, Woods walked away from the finish area as camera crews scrambled to keep up with him. "Just having someone supporting you, always makes me feel better," Vonn said. "I didn't feel any pressure, I had two really good training runs and I felt really confident today, and I'm just disappointed that my knee didn't hold up like I thought it would." Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden of Switzerland won the race for her first career victory, and was also delighted to see Woods there. "It's good for our sport," she said. "It's perfect when we have a lot of prominent people in the finish area." Defending overall champion Tina Maze, who finished second, was surprised when Woods showed up at Friday's pre-race draw. "I noticed that everyone was taking pictures. Then I realized that Tiger was here," she said. "It didn't bring Lindsey much luck today. I feel sorry for her that she didn't finish, but I hope she will be back soon. I managed to speak to her, a few words in the finish area. I think in the sport people really respect each other and I have respect for both of them." Vonn has five World Cup wins in Val d'Isere and also won two golds at the 2009 world championships — but those victories all came on two good knees. Earlier this month, the 29-year-old American raced for the first time in 10 months. Still, she was buoyant after finishing only 0.04 seconds behind Dominique Gisin of Switzerland in Thursday's second training run. "The thing is I have no ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). So unless I get surgery there's nothing really magical that I can do that's going to make it better," she said. "I just can get my leg stronger, my muscle stronger and try and support it a little more. But that has a small impact. My knee is loose and it's not stable and that's the way it's going to be from here on out. I just have to get used to it." She did not regret her decision to race at Val d'Isere, one of the most technically demanding slopes on the circuit. "I think Val d'Isere was a good place for me to come back to. I'm skiing well, so going forward I definitely have a lot more confidence," she said. "My goal is the Olympics, so I'm not winning any World Cups this year, any titles. As long as I'm skiing well and have confidence, that's all I really need."