Lindsey Vonn discusses knee injury, future

Lindsey Vonn
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If the Olympics were days or weeks away, Lindsey Vonn probably would have continued skiing after learning she suffered three hairline left knee fractures in a Feb. 27 crash, rather than ending her season prematurely March 2.

“If this year had been the Olympics, I probably would have taken the risk,” Vonn said on Eurosport on Wednesday. “But I’m looking forward to be able to walk when I’m older. I thought it was important to make that decision. I think I made the right decision.”

Vonn, walking with a black brace on her left leg, discussed her knee injury and her future while at the World Cup Finals in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

The 2010 Olympic downhill champion flew to Europe to collect her eighth downhill season title and 20th crystal globe overall.

She had clinched that title before her Feb. 27 crash, but by ending her season four days later, she conceded the season’s biggest prize, the World Cup overall title, to Swiss Lara Gut.

Vonn repeated Wednesday that she would have considered retiring if her injuries required major surgery, as she mentioned in her March 2 announcement.

“If I would have had to have surgery, it’s apparently a complicated surgery if I were to need it,” Vonn said. “Maybe then I would think about [retiring].”

But Vonn is already working out in the gym.

“And I probably shouldn’t be,” she said. “I don’t have a pause button.

“I just need time, unfortunately. I’m just doing some light stuff in the gym, nothing too crazy, just working on my vacation body and having fun. Right now there’s nothing really I can do. I give it maybe three or four weeks, and then I should be able to start training a little bit harder.”

Her motivation to continue is at least threefold — the 2017 World Championships, the 2018 Olympics and the record for World Cup wins. Vonn is 10 victories shy of Ingemar Stenmark‘s 86 after notching nine wins in her shortened 2015-16 campaign.

“I really hope that next year I can do it,” break Stenmark’s record, Vonn said. “Of course, I’m still 10 away. It’s not like it’s a small amount of wins, but at the same time this year I got nine. I think the odds are good.”

Vonn said she doesn’t want to stop racing any time soon.

“The Olympics is probably the biggest goal, but to break Stenmark would be amazing,” she said. “But I’m not putting any timeline on it. Maybe I’ll ski past the Olympics, you never know.

“At least I’m healthy enough to be able to continue if I want to.”

Vonn was asked questions on a Eurosport set while standing next to former rival Tina Maze, who at 32 is one year older than Vonn.

Maze, the 2013 World Cup overall champion, took this season off and hasn’t said whether she will return to racing.

“You can come back and fight me,” Vonn said, elbowing Maze.

“Maybe,” Maze said, smiling.

“Oh, come on, Tina,” Vonn said.

MORE: Lara Gut wins first World Cup overall title

Olympian Derrick Mein ends U.S. men’s trap drought at shotgun worlds

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Tokyo Olympian Derrick Mein became the first U.S. male shooter to win a world title in the trap event since 1966, prevailing at the world shotgun championships in Osijek, Croatia, on Wednesday.

Mein, who grew up on a small farm in Southeast Kansas, hunting deer and quail, nearly squandered a place in the final when he missed his last three shots in the semifinal round after hitting his first 22. He rallied in a sudden-death shoot-off for the last spot in the final by hitting all five of his targets.

He hit 33 of 34 targets in the final to win by two over Brit Nathan Hales with one round to spare.

The last U.S. man to win an Olympic trap title was Donald Haldeman in 1976.

Mein, 37, was 24th in his Olympic debut in Tokyo (and placed 13th with Kayle Browning in the mixed-gender team event).

The U.S. swept the Tokyo golds in the other shotgun event — skeet — with Vincent Hancock and Amber English. Browning took silver in women’s trap.

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Mo Farah withdraws before London Marathon

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British track legend Mo Farah withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon, citing a right hip injury before what would have been his first 26.2-mile race in nearly two years.

Farah, who swept the 2012 and 2016 Olympic track titles at 5000m and 10,000m, said he hoped “to be back out there” next April, when the London Marathon returns to its traditional month after COVID moved it to the fall for three consecutive years. Farah turns 40 on March 23.

“I’ve been training really hard over the past few months and I’d got myself back into good shape and was feeling pretty optimistic about being able to put in a good performance,” in London, Farah said in a press release. “However, over the past 10 days I’ve been feeling pain and tightness in my right hip. I’ve had extensive physio and treatment and done everything I can to be on the start line, but it hasn’t improved enough to compete on Sunday.”

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

Sunday’s London Marathon men’s race is headlined by Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Birhanu Legese, the second- and third-fastest marathoners in history.

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