SCHLADMING, Austria — Lindsey Vonn will head home for surgery in Colorado next week after tearing two ligaments in her right knee and breaking a bone in her lower leg in a crash at the world championships.
Vonn said Wednesday that she plans to compete in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, which start in 12 months. She was released from the hospital late Tuesday and returned to the team hotel.
“I am grateful to my fans for the outpouring of support, which has really helped me stay positive,” Vonn said in a statement. “I can assure you that I will work as hard as humanly possible to be ready to represent my country next year in Sochi.”
The Olympic downhill champion will have surgery next week in Vail, Colo. Because of intense media attention, neither she nor the U.S. Ski Team would say when she’s leaving Austria.
“She’ll be heading back to Vail (Colorado) and I will be doing surgery on her knee early next week,” team physician William Sterett told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “Lindsey is doing well. She’s in good spirits.”
Sterett would not set a return date to skiing for Vonn until after the surgery, but other doctors believe she will be sidelined for up to eight months.
Vonn wants to be back for the World Cup speed races in Lake Louise, Alberta, in late November or early December, a course she has won 14 times on.
“She’s got her mindset, she’s going to come back stronger than she was,” Alpine director Patrick Riml told the AP. “She’s got her goal — ‘I’ll be back in Lake Louise’ — and Lindsey will do whatever it takes to be back.”
Vonn tore her anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in her right knee. The broken bone was described as a lateral tibial plateau fracture.
“The fracture is called an impaction fracture,” Sterett said. “It should not require any surgery. It just needs to be non-weight on crutches.”
The accident happened after Vonn landed a jump in the opening super-G race at the championships. As she hit the ground, her right leg gave way and she spun forward, throwing an arm out to protect herself. She ended up on her back as she smashed through a gate.