Mitchell Gunn

VIDEO: Lindsey Vonn chats with Matt Lauer on TODAY

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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.”

Photos: Final Five meet the President, First Lady

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 29:  U.S. first lady Michelle Obama(L) rests her elbow on the head of Olympian Simone Biles (2nd L) as President Barack Obama (R) speaks during an East Room event at the White House September 29, 2016 in Washington, DC. President Obama and the first lady welcome the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams to the White House to honor their participation and success in the Rio Olympic Games this year.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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The U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team spent extra time at the White House on Thursday after President Barack Obama delivered a speech to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams.

Simone Biles, Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian and Aly Raisman did the splits with Obama, and even lifted vegetable dumbbells with First Lady Michelle Obama.

Gabby Douglas, who had her wisdom teeth removed earlier this week, did not attend the event.

MORE: Simone Biles discusses her future

Katherine Reutter ends early retirement

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 26:  Katherine Reutter of the United States celebrates the silver medal in the Ladies 1000m Short Track Speed Skating Final on day 15 of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics at Pacific Coliseum on February 26, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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When Katherine Reutter retired in 2013 at the age of 24, she never thought she would return to the ice. Three hip surgeries and two major back injuries left the two-time Olympic short track speed skating medalist in constant pain.

But now Reutter is scheduled to compete this weekend at the U.S. Speedskating Short Track World Cup Qualifier at the Utah Olympic Oval.

“You wouldn’t expect somebody who has been as injured as I have to be back at their best,” Reutter said in a telephone interview from Utah. “I feel like I’m getting close.”

Reutter only started contemplating a comeback last November, after being inspired by attending a World Cup race as a member of the U.S. Speedskating Athlete Advisory Council.

She began a regimen of yoga twice a week and daily 30-minute walks when she returned to Milwaukee, where she was working as a coach for the Academy of Skating Excellence.

“I started off really, really slow,” she said. “I started to work out the amount that a normal person probably should.”

Pain free, Reutter began skating during the practices that she was coaching.

“I noticed the days I came home really happy were the days where I had skated,” she said.

Reutter only started to truly believe that she could return to skating competitively when she clocked times that she described as “pretty darn good” a training camp in Salt Lake City in May and June.

She has learned to listen to her body. After experiencing pain when she scheduled twice-daily workouts six days per week, she scaled back to four or five days per week.

“I don’t really have the option to overtrain like I used to,” she said.

Reutter’s goal this weekend is to earn a placement for the ISU World Cup, which begins Nov. 4-6 in Calgary. Eventually, she would like to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

But Reutter would be happy just being, well, happy.

“I am trying to live life to its happiest every single day,” she said, “and speed skating allows me to do that.”

Reutter recently changed her Twitter bio to say “comeback queen.”

“So far I’m the only one who calls me that,” she said, laughing. “I suppose people could get on board eventually”

MORE: Five athletes to know before the 2018 Winter Olympics