Lindsey Vonn

Lindsey Vonn suffers another ACL injury in training crash

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Lindsey Vonn reinjured the knee she blew out at the World Championships in a training crash on Tuesday, her publicist said in an email.

“Lindsey sustained a mild strain to her right knee, a partial tear to her right ACL, minor facial abrasions and scapular contusions from her fall,” Lewis Kay wrote Wednesday. “She needs to rest for a few days and then will pursue aggressive physical therapy and will determine the next time she is able to compete after seeing how she responds to the treatment.

We will provide a further update when new information becomes available.”

Vonn suffered a torn ACL, MCL and lateral tibial plateau fracture on Feb. 5, crashing in the World Championships super-G in Schladming, Austria (video here). The Olympic downhill champion had surgery five days later and planned to return to competition nine months after that.

The first Olympic Alpine skiing event is less than three months away on Feb. 10.

Before the crash at Copper Mountain, Colo., on Tuesday, she was expected to return to competitive skiing for the first time at a World Cup stop in Beaver Creek beginning Nov. 29 and enter as many as four events at the Sochi Olympics.

Vonn’s teammate raced at Olympics 18 days after ACL tear

“I believe Lindsey is the kind of person that’s going to work as hard as anybody can work at it and will recover as strong as anyone,” U.S. Alpine skier Ted Ligety told The Associated Press. “She has the mind-frame to come back strong. If it’s possible for her to get out there and compete, she’ll be out there competing. And when she competes, she normally wins.”

Vonn returned to skiing on snow in Portillo, Chile, on Aug. 31 (video here) and said shortly after that her right knee wasn’t swollen and that she couldn’t tell which knee was injured anymore.

She felt so good that she considered racing in the season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 26 but opted against it three days before the race.

“I’ve only been on snow for a few days, but I’m already almost right back where I was,” she told Matt Lauer on “TODAY” on Oct. 28 (video here).

She trained downhill for the first time since her crash on Nov. 6 and, two days later, said she felt healthy enough to win a World Cup super-G race.

Vonn recently said she’s reluctantly been wearing a protective knee brace under doctor’s orders, according to The Associated Press.

“It’s in my best interest to play it safe,” Vonn said, according to the AP. “I compromised and said that as long as I don’t have to wear [the brace] for the Olympics, I’ll be fine.”

Vonn, a three-time Olympian, is three wins away from matching Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell for the most World Cup victories by a woman with 62. The overall record is held by Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark at 86.

Athletes attempting comebacks for Sochi Olympics

Her career has been filled with championship crystal globes but also injuries long before her World Championships crash.

In 2006, she crashed in a downhill training run at the Torino Olympics, suffering a bruised hip, but competed two days later and finished eighth.

In 2007, she crashed in a slalom training run and suffered a sprained ACL.

In 2009, she cut her right thumb on a broken champagne bottle celebrating a World Championship. She needed surgery to repair a cut tendon. Later in December 2009, she crashed during a World Cup giant slalom run in December and bruised her arm but skied through it.

In 2010, she bruised her shin a week before the Olympics, causing “excruciating” pain when she tried to put on a ski boot. She skied through it, winning the Vancouver downhill and taking bronze in the super-G. She crashed in the Olympic giant slalom, breaking her right pinkie, and also crashed in the super combined.

Video: Vonn’s Vancouver downhill gold

In 2011, she crashed during a training run one week before the World Championships, suffering a concussion. She raced anyway, finishing second in the downhill and seventh in the super-G.

In 2012, she suffered from an intestinal illness and took a three-week break from the World Cup tour over the holidays.

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Kerri Walsh Jennings’ next partner is a familiar one

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Kerri Walsh Jennings is slated to play with with 2008 Olympian Nicole Branagh this summer, after she and Olympic bronze medal teammate April Ross split last month.

Walsh Jennings, a three-time Olympic champion with Misty May-Treanor before that bronze in Rio, and Branagh, who made the Beijing Games quarterfinals with Elaine Youngs, are entered in an FIVB World Tour event in Croatia the last week of June.

Walsh Jennings and Branagh are both 38 years old and briefly paired in 2010 when May-Treanor was uncertain about making a run for the London Olympics. When May-Treanor told Walsh Jennings she was all-in for London, Walsh Jennings split from Branagh.

Walsh Jennings and Branagh are hoping to play together through the World Tour Finals in late August, according to Volleyball Magazine.

That includes the world championships in Vienna, Austria, in late July and early August.

It’s not known if they will have the combined ranking points to earn an outright worlds spot. They could also receive a wild card for worlds. Entries will be announced next month.

Walsh Jennings, a mother of three, has said she hopes to play in the 2020 Olympics at age 41, when she will be older than any previous Olympic beach or indoor volleyball player, according to Olympic historians.

Branagh returned to competition this year after a one-year break to have her second child. She has played few international events since 2012 and last won internationally in 2010 (with Walsh Jennings).

Ross, an Olympic silver and bronze medalist and 2009 World champion, is now partnered with Lauren Fendrick, who played with Brooke Sweat in Rio. Ross, 34, said she will figure out her long-term partner plans for Tokyo 2020 after this season.

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Catching up with Ross Powers

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Ross Powers, now 38 years old and 15 years removed from his Olympic snowboarding title, is still out with halfpipe riders on the snow five days per week.

The difference now is that Powers is coaching. He runs the snowboarding program at Stratton Mountain School in Vermont, where he graduated from in 1997.

Powers spoke with OlympicTalk before last season, reflecting on 20 years of snowboarding in the Olympics, Shaun White and how he likes coaching.

OlympicTalk: The PyeongChang Winter Games will mark 20 years since snowboarding’s debut in Nagano. What was it like competing in the first Olympic halfpipe?

Powers (who won bronze in Nagano at age 19): It seemed kind of like a regular World Cup. We were up in the mountains. At the time, it was a really good halfpipe, but we ended up competing in some bad weather, some rain. I didn’t realize until I left Japan and got home how big the Olympics were. But looking back, it was a special time. And I really learned from the ’98 Olympics, like if I get this chance again, I’m going to go there, I’m going to do it all. I’m going to go to Opening Ceremonies, Closing Ceremonies, watch as many events as I can and just make the most out of the Games.

OlympicTalk: The Nagano halfpipe was about half the size of today’s superpipes (394 feet long with 11 1/2-foot walls vs. 590 feet with 22-foot walls in Sochi). Could today’s snowboarders compete with you guys back in 1998?

Powers: It was so different. At the time, I want to say it was the biggest pipe we rode, but compared to today’s standards, it’s small. The weather was tricky. I think a lot of those guys [today] could ride it, but it’s so much different than today’s halfpipe for sure.

OlympicTalk: In 2002, when you led a U.S. men’s halfpipe medal sweep, the rider who just missed the Olympic team was a 15-year-old Shaun White. What do you remember about him?

Powers: You kind of knew he was going to be the next guy. Where he took our sport and certain tricks. One thing that really impressed me about him is he’ll train really hard for an event, show up, even if the conditions are bad, he’s planned this trick he wants to do, and he’ll try it no matter what. Most of the time he’ll give it a go and land it. That actually hurt him in Russia [White attempted but couldn’t perfect the YOLO Flip 1440 in Sochi] because he probably could have stepped down a notch, gotten a medal and maybe even won the event.

OlympicTalk: Did Shaun ever beat you before you retired?

Powers: I had my run from 1998, ’99, ’00, ’01, all those times that I was doing really well. I tried to make the 2006 Olympics in Italy. I was the alternate, so I just missed that. He was definitely beating me up through those times.

OlympicTalk: Did you travel to the Torino Olympics as an alternate?

Powers: I did, yeah. I traveled over there and actually watched my buddy [Seth] Wescott win the gold in boarder cross. That night, he was like, you should try boarder cross. That kind of got me into doing that my next few years after that.

[Editor’s Note: Powers almost made the 2010 Olympic team in snowboard cross, even finishing third in a December 2009 World Cup.]

OlympicTalk: Which is tougher, coaching or competing?

Powers: I would say it is tougher coaching than competing. You just have so many responsibilities and so much work. The nice thing about coaching, though, compared to competing, is you can kind of push yourself and have fun [riding] on certain days but then also sit back and really work with the athletes on all other days. So when you’re feeling it, you can push yourself. So it’s not like an athlete, where you have to push yourself.

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