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American gold medal Alpine skier Lindsey Vonn sat down for an exclusive interview with Matt Lauer on TODAY Monday morning to discuss her recovery from a surgery to repair two knee ligaments following a devastating crash at the world championships earlier this month.
“I struggled definitely the first few days after the injury,” Vonn told Lauer. “Right now my goal is to be back for 2014 in Sochi. Honestly, in a worst-case scenario, if I trained a week before the Games, I’d be fine.”
It had been a tough season already for Vonn, who was sidelined for weeks with an intestinal illness and fatigue. Still, she managed to score six World Cup victories and be back in top form for worlds. But a bad landing on opening day sent her tumbling down the mountain in Schladming, Austria.
“I just went off the jump, flew too far, and landed in a pile of snow that hadn’t been cleared away,” she said. “It essentially stopped my feet on impact, and my knee just completely buckled.”
Vonn tore her right ACL and MCL and and suffered a tibial plateau fracture during her final run on the super-G course. But while she could be heard screaming in pain, Vonn says she “didn’t think it was going to be the end of my career.”
Vonn posted a grisly picture of her knee on Facebook last week, while joking about her fancy crutches and having to wear long skirts all summer. She’s already rehabbing with two one-hour sessions each day and promises to be ready in time next year’s Winter Olympics.
“I feel like I have a lot more left to do. I have plenty of time to be ready for Sochi.”
Christie Rampone, the 40-year-old captain of the 2015 U.S. Women’s World Cup team, has yet to return to full fitness after December knee surgery and pulled out of a U.S. camp ahead of two pre-Olympic friendlies in June.
Her bid for a fifth Olympics, and to become the oldest U.S. Olympic soccer player of all time, is in danger.
The camp begins Friday. The friendlies against rival Japan (which failed to qualify for Rio) are June 2 and June 5.
“I don’t feel 100 percent healthy enough to train and compete at that level,” Rampone said in a press release Tuesday. “I’ve been able to manage myself and contribute to Sky Blue [her club team] this season, which I will continue to do, but I also have an understanding of the level of fitness and health needed to push for an Olympic roster spot, and I know I’m not there right now. It’s not the right choice for myself or the team to put myself in that environment.”
Rampone, a defender, hasn’t played for the U.S. since her December arthroscopic knee surgery. At the 2015 Women’s World Cup, she played a total of 14 minutes.
The U.S. national team is currently without nine players from the 23-player World Cup team, though some are expected back for the Olympics, but only one of the missing other than Rampone is a defender (the retired Lori Chalupny).
The U.S. Olympic women’s soccer team for London was named in May 2012, but the Rio roster of 18 players is expected to be announced by early July.
VIDEO: Hope Solo ‘begrudgingly’ going to Rio Olympics
NBC Olympics and Fandango partnered for Fandango’s “I Love Movies: Rio Olympic Edition,” featuring swimming gold medalists Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin and Matt Grevers, among other Olympians and Paralympians.
Leading up to the Rio Games, NBC Olympics and Fandango plan to release episodes with dozens of athletes from gymnastics, track and field, diving, basketball rugby and Paralympic events.
Watch Lochte’s short film above and Franklin and Grevers reveal their favorite movies below.
Lochte, Franklin and Grevers will look to qualify for the Rio Olympics at the Olympic Trials in Omaha from June 26-July 3, with broadcast coverage on NBC Sports.
MORE: Full NBC Olympic trials broadcast schedule