More shocking than Tuesday’s news from Austria that American alpine star Lindsey Vonn had suffered a major right knee injury during a race was the official word that Vonn is expected to be back in time for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Expected back as what, an official greeter in a walking cast?
Then again, maybe it isn’t that shocking. Maybe they all know Lindsey Vonn. Maybe she told doctors she would be back as they were airlifting her off a mountain in Schmalding, Austria.
How do you doubt Lindsey Vonn?
The news following her super-G crash at the FIS World Championships was not exactly what you would call promising. The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Assn. confirmed she suffered ACL and MCL tears in her knee in addition to a lateral tibial plateau fracture.
It seemed unusual that the USSA would so immediately and emphatically state of Vonn, “she will be out for the remainder of this season but is expected to return to racing for the 2013-14 Audi FIS World Cup season and the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.”
Vonn, though, isn’t your typical athlete.
She hails from Minnesota, the same state where Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson recently completed a remarkable recovery from an ACL tear to then tear up the National Football League.
Vonn, like Peterson, possesses the same kind of resiliency, inner drive and work ethic. At the 2006 Turin Olympics, remember, she overcame a horrific training crash to painfully compete in the Games. She didn’t earn a medal, but she earned everyone’s admiration and respect.
Before the 2010 Vancouver Games, she overcame a painful shin injury that made it hard to stick her leg in her ski boot.
She grimaced through the pain to win Olympic gold in the downhill.
Lindsey Vonn, 28, may have movie star looks but she’s also tougher than a $1 steak and one of the most competitive athletes I have ever covered.
Vonn is not just, already, the greatest female ski racer in U.S. history. She is on the cusp of becoming the greatest female skier in anybody’s history.
With 59 World Cup wins, Vonn is on the verge of surpassing the record of 62 victories held by Austrian icon Annemarie Moser-Proell.
What Vonn has done in Alpine skiing is equivalent to an Austrian coming to the U.S. and breaking the major league home run record.
Vonn is probably better known to Americans for appearing in Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue. Alpine skiers, understandably, get less attention in the U.S. for their accomplishments than they do in Austria, where Vonn suffered her injury.
Vonn, however, is a transcendent star and the face of the U.S. Olympic team heading to Russia next winter.
It’s difficult to imagine the Winter Olympics without her.
Apparently, though, that isn’t going to be a problem.
Vonn is already making plans to be in the start gate.
Isn’t that just like her?
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Lindsey Vonn crashes, is airlifted to hospital [Video]
Lindsey Vonn will miss rest of ski season with knee injury