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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Gus Kenworthy qualifies for Olympic ski slopestyle team

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Two nights after taking a massive slam in the halfpipe, Gus Kenworthy bounced back to earn a spot on his second U.S. Olympic slopestyle team.

Kenworthy placed second at the final Olympic qualifier for freeski slopestyle, which was held Sunday at Mammoth Mountain. That result, combined with a victory at a selection event last weekend, qualified him for the Olympic team.

It wasn’t the smoothest week for Kenworthy, who had been trying to make the U.S. team in both halfpipe and slopestyle.

During Friday night’s final qualifier for the ski halfpipe team, Kenworthy struggled to land a run and then had a hard crash on his final attempt.

On Saturday, he placed 58th out of 63 skiers in the preliminary round of a slopestyle selection event.

It was a different story on Sunday though.

By making the slopestyle team, Kenworthy will have another shot at an Olympic medal. He won a silver medal at the last Winter Olympics in Sochi, where slopestyle made its debut, and was part of a podium sweep alongside Joss Christensen and Nick Goepper.

Earlier in the day, Goepper became the first skier to make the men’s slopestyle Olympic team. Because of weather delays throughout the week, Mammoth ended up hosting a pair of Olympic qualifiers on Sunday.

Goepper and Kenworthy were the only skiers to earn automatic nominations onto the men’s slopestyle Olympic team during the qualifying period. Two more skiers can still be added to the team as discretionary selections.

McRae Williams, the 2017 X Games silver medalist, has a strong case for one of those two spots. He finished sixth and fifth at Sunday’s two slopestyle qualifiers.

The other spot on the team looks a little more uncertain. Among the riders likely in consideration is Alex Hall, who was fourth at the final qualifier and is the next ranked skier in terms of qualifying points. It’s also possible that reigning Olympic gold medalist Joss Christensen, who just returned to competition last week after rehabbing from a torn ACL, could be in the discussion.

While Kenworthy is now assured a spot on the slopestyle team, he’s likely on the outside looking in for halfpipe. The three automatic spots have already been allocated to David Wise, Alex Ferreira and Torin Yater-Wallace, and the discretionary spot appears likely to go to Aaron Blunck.

Discretionary picks for both slopestyle and halfpipe are expected to be announced in the next few days.

U.S. Olympic Qualifying Standings

Men’s Freeski Slopestyle
After 5 of 5 Events:

1. Gus Kenworthy, 180** (QUALIFIED)
2. Nick Goepper, 160** (QUALIFIED)
3. McRae Williams, 95
4. Alex Hall, 95
5. Quinn Wolferman, 79
6. Bobby Brown, 68
7. Noah Wallace, 60
8. Joss Christensen, 60

**Has met qualifying minimum of two top-three finishes.

Nick Goepper becomes first skier to qualify for U.S. Olympic men’s slopestyle team

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The U.S. men’s freeski slopestyle team has its first member for PyeongChang.

Nick Goepper qualified for his second Olympic team on Sunday as the U.S. selection events start to draw to a close.

Goepper, who grew up learning to ski in Indiana, was on the podium earlier this year at two of the first three selection events for the ski slopestyle team, which enabled him to meet objective criteria for Olympic qualifying. Though he finished just eighth in the first of two Olympic qualifiers being held Sunday at Mammoth Mountain, he was able to secure his spot on the team because no other Americans finished on the podium.

At the last Olympics, where slopestyle made its debut, Goepper won a bronze medal. He was part of a historic medal sweep and was joined on the podium by Joss Christensen and Gus Kenworthy.

Those two are still looking to qualify.

Christensen just returned to competition last week after rehabbing from a torn ACL. After not making the final at either slopestyle qualifier last week, he finished seventh at Mammoth and could be in contention for a discretionary spot.

As for Kenworthy, he took a hard slam in Friday night’s halfpipe final and then did not advance out of Saturday’s preliminary round for slopestyle. He is slated to compete in another slopestyle qualifier, which will be held later today. Kenworthy can still clinch his spot on the Olympic team with a top-three finish in that one.

Another contender for the team is McRae Williams, who was the top U.S. skier at Mammoth with a sixth-place finish. Williams won a silver medal at X Games last year.

While the bronze medal and the U.S. podium sweep put Goepper in the spotlight in Sochi, he is hungry for more.

“To be completely honest, I was a bit frustrated with my result at first,” Goepper told NBC Olympics last year. “I really wanted to win that day, and I went there with all the confidence in the world and the expectation to be on the top. I definitely feel like I’ve got some unfinished business at the Winter Olympics.”

Olympic qualifying for the ski slopestyle team concludes with a second contest later today.

Kenworthy is the only one who could officially secure a nomination in that event, but all other skiers will still be looking to earn discretionary spots on the team, which are expected to be allocated next week.

Up to four men and four women can ultimately be named to the U.S. Olympic slopestyle team.

U.S. Qualifying Standings

Men’s Freeski Slopestyle
After 4 of 5 Events:
1. Nick Goepper, 160** (QUALIFIED)
2. Gus Kenworthy, 140*
3. McRae Williams, 90
4. Quinn Wolferman, 79
5. Alex Hall, 57
6. Bobby Brown, 56
7. Joss Christensen, 54
8. Willie Borm, 50

Women’s Freeski Slopestyle
After 5 of 5 Events:
1. Maggie Voisin, 180** (QUALIFIED)
2. Caroline Claire, 92*
3. Devin Logan, 90
4. Darian Stevens, 85
5. Taylor Lundquist, 81
6. Julia Krass, 72

**Has met qualifying minimum of two top-three finishes.
*Has one top-three finish.