U.S. alpine skiing star Lindsey Vonn, who hoped to rehab her injured right knee enough to compete at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi in February, has officially opted out of the Winter Games, according to a Jan. 7 announcement made via her official Facebook page.
Vonn, 29, tore two ligaments in her knee in February of 2013 on the opening day run of the super G at the Alpine Ski World Championships in Austria. After having the knee surgically repaired, a Nov. 20 training accident at Copper Mountain, Colo. resulted in yet another partial ACL tear and more time away from the slopes.
Although Vonn was "devastated" to give up her spot on the U.S. Olympic ski team, her disappointment was tempered by the knowledge that one of her talented teammates would take her place and "go for gold." Still, her absence from the U.S. roster leaves the sport without its ostensible cover girl, although teen Mikaela Shiffrin is well on her way to establishing herself as a bona fide international competition threat.
A four-time World Cup overall champion, Vonn made history at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver by becoming the first U.S. woman to ever win downhill gold. She also claimed the bronze in the super G.