LAKE LOUISE, Alberta (AP) — Lindsey Vonn was cleared to get back on a World Cup course for downhill training, the latest step as she works to return from a right knee injury and get ready for the Sochi Olympics.
Now Vonn — and the rest of the skiing world — will wait to find out whether she’ll actually be racing by the end of this week.
The four-time overall World Cup champion and reigning Olympic downhill gold medalist is expected to start in Wednesday’s first official training session at Lake Louise, the U.S. Ski Team said Tuesday.
The team added that not until Thursday would a decision be made on whether Vonn will return to competition for the first time since tearing right knee ligaments in a high-speed crash at the world championships last February. The scheduled races at Lake Louise — a site Vonn has dominated in the past, including three-victory sweeps in 2011 and 2012 — are downhills on Friday and Saturday, with a super-G on Sunday.
The U.S. Ski Team said Vonn “felt strong” after doing super-G training in her hometown of Vail, Colo., last weekend, and that her surgeon, Dr. Bill Sterett, feels “her knee is stable.”
Vonn was working toward a return to racing last week at Beaver Creek, Colo., until wiping out during a training run on Nov. 19, and partially tearing a ligament in her surgically repaired knee.
The American told The Associated Press over the weekend that she needs another operation on her knee but is trying to put it off as long as possible in order to be able to ski at the Sochi Games, which begin in a little more than two months.
Vonn is three race wins from equaling the World Cup women’s record of 62 held by Austria’s Annemarie Moser-Proell, and she said over the weekend she was planning to travel to Canada for downhill training. Of her 59 career World Cup race victories, 14 have come at Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies.
She is so successful — and comfortable — on this particular slope, she petitioned the International Ski Federation (FIS) in October 2012 to allow her to compete in a men’s World Cup race at Lake Louise. But FIS turned her down.
Originally, Tuesday was supposed to be the first day of downhill training, but that was called off because of travel delays from the women’s previous World Cup stop in Colorado.
– By HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Sports Writer
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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