Julia Mancuso, a four-time Olympic medalist, will miss the entire Alpine skiing season after she undergoes hip surgery Wednesday.
“If I were to try to push through, get more treatments and try to ski this season, I would just be setting myself back towards the real goal, which is PyeongChang 2018,” Mancuso said in a press release. “My goal is to be strong enough to freeski at the end of March, but conservatively, it depends on the outcome of the surgery.”
Mancuso cut her 2014-15 season short due to right hip pain, a problem area throughout her career that intensified after she fell on her right side in a giant slalom in Are, Sweden, on Dec. 12, and later skipped the World Cup Finals in March.
She then hit her head on a reef, needing 15 staples among her hair, according to her Instagram in late May. She didn’t race in the season-opening giant slalom Oct. 24. The second and third races of the season are Nov. 28-29 in Aspen, Colo.
“We used this year’s prep season to exhaust all conservative treatment,” U.S. Ski Team medical director Kyle Wilkens said in a press release. “Unfortunately, those efforts were not successful and she has elected to go forth with surgery.”
Mancuso, 31, competed at every World Cup Finals, World Championships and Olympics since 2005 up until last season’s World Cup Finals, racking up the most Alpine medals by a U.S. woman in history (nine combined Olympic/Worlds medals) and six top-three finishes in World Cup discipline standings.
She last won an international race Feb. 21, 2012, though Mancuso did earn a 2014 Olympic super combined bronze medal.
Mancuso has 395 World Cup starts dating to her Nov. 20, 1999, debut, which is 13 starts shy of the women’s record held by retired Austrian Renate Goetschl.
The Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Games would be her fifth Olympics. No U.S. woman previously competed in five Winter Games.
Mancuso’s absence means that eight of the 11 women who earned 2014 Olympic Alpine medals are not competing this season, via injuries, retirements and Tina Maze‘s break.
Lindsey Vonn, coming back from a broken ankle, and Mikaela Shiffrin are the favorites for the biggest prize in the sport this season, the World Cup overall title.