Only nine months after a high-speed crash at the World Championships in Austria, Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn crashed during a training run Tuesday in Colorado, leaving everyone to wonder if she can recover in time for Sochi.
Vonn was ready to compete in next week’s race in Beaver Creek after surgery and recovery repaired her torn ACL and MCL in her right knee. However now that ACL is partially torn, and she also suffered minor facial abrasions and a bruised shoulder blade in the crash. [Tweet this news!]
With the Winter Games only two and half months away, she may be able to bounce back in time. “A partial ACL tear means that the ligament is in tact, so she'll be okay to get through the Olympics,” says Robert Gotlin, M.D., director of orthopedic and sports rehabilitation at the Continuum Center for Health and Healing at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City.
The next six weeks are crucial if Vonn she wants to compete. Gotlin says she should focus on building the muscles around her ligaments to help support her entire lower torso and strengthen it enough to handle all the back-and-forth and left-to-right motions. “She could also wear a brace, but that might stop her from being able to ski at her elite level,” Gotlin adds.
RELATED: 15 Female Olympic Athletes We Love
Good thing it wasn’t her MCL, which is the most important ligament for a skier, he says. “That's their source of torque going in and out of the gates, so if it were re-torn and not fully stabilized in the knee, that would be a problem.”
Before this recent incident, Vonn was certain that she would be competing in Sochi. “After my crash, it was my single focus during all of my rehab,” she told SHAPE during the premiere of Proctor and Gamble’s “Thank You, Mom” campaign earlier this year. “I'm a hard worker. I fall a lot. Obviously that was the biggest injury of my career, but I never doubted myself.”
Here's to hoping she's still got that unshakable faith.