Lindsey Vonn ends season early following crash

Lindsey Vonn
AP
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Lindsey Vonn will not race again this season due to left knee injuries suffered in a Saturday crash, according to her social media.

“Today I am making the difficult decision to end my season and leave the World Cup circuit due to an injury I suffered last Saturday,” was posted on her social media Wednesday. “Because I am currently leading the Overall World Cup standings, this is one of the toughest decisions of my career.”

Vonn, with a slim 28-point standings lead over Swiss Lara Gut, was eight races from possibly winning her fifth World Cup overall title and her first since two major right knee surgeries knocked her out of the Sochi Olympics.

But on Saturday, she fractured her left tibial plateau in a super-G crash (video here).

She raced Sunday thinking she had one hairline fracture, finishing 13th in a super combined, but learned after further scans Tuesday that the injury was worse than first thought.

“Those images showed that there was not just 1 hairline fracture, but in fact 3,” was posted on Vonn’s social media. “And the fractures are not hairline, but instead they are significant enough that they are not sufficiently stable to permit me to safely continue skiing. Further damage any of the fragments could result in a serious surgery that would risk my future in ski racing. With the World Championships in St. Moritz next year and the Winter Olympics in South Korea the following year, I cannot take that risk.”

MORE: Lindsey Vonn’s long history of injuries

Vonn, 31, hoped to become the oldest women’s World Cup overall champion ever this season.

She won eight of the season’s first nine speed races (downhill and super-G) through Feb. 6, putting her on pace for her most successful season ever. Vonn’s highest win total for one season was 12 in 2011-12, the season before she crashed in the 2013 World Championships super-G.

Vonn also clinched her record-breaking 20th World Cup season title across all disciplines and the overall by taking the downhill crystal globe for a record eighth time.

She also moved closer to the World Cup wins record of 86 held by retired Swede Ingemar Stenmark, reaching 76 victories. Since Vonn has won eight and nine races the last two seasons, she is on pace to break the record before the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics.

In 2018, the 2010 Olympic downhill champion Vonn will be older than any previous Olympic women’s Alpine skiing medalist.

With Vonn out the rest of the season, Gut is in line to earn her first World Cup overall title.

She should pass Vonn in the standings either this weekend or next weekend, ahead of the final four races of the season at the World Cup Finals in St. Moritz from March 16-20.

Gut, 24 and the Olympic downhill bronze medalist, has a 293-point edge over third-place Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany.

VIDEO: Vonn meets Ingemar Stenmark