Lindsey Vonn Pulls Out of Sochi Olympics
01/07/2014 AT 08:30 AM EST
But nearly three weeks after her right knee gave out during a downhill race in France on Dec. 21 – the latest in a series of setbacks for her injured knee – the ski racing champion has made the tough call: she's pulling out of the upcoming Sochi Olympics.
"Lindsey Vonn will be unable to compete in the upcoming Olympic Winter Games in Sochi," her rep said in a statement. "After the incident in Val D'Isere, an MRI showed an MCL sprain, which coupled with the torn ACL, has made it impossible to stabilize her knee and be ready to safely ski again next month."
Vonn's decision is especially disappointing in light of her painstaking work to regain strength in her knee following surgery in February last year for a torn ACL and tibial fracture.
Now, rather than heading to Russia next month, Vonn will undergo knee surgery.
The rep's statement went on to say, "She will have surgery shortly and is expected to make a full recovery in time for the 2014/15 World Cup season and the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships in Vail-Beaver Creek."
In her own message, posted to Facebook Tuesday morning and signed "XO Lindsey," Vonn said: "I am devastated to announce that I will not be able to compete in Sochi. I did everything I possibly could to somehow get strong enough to overcome having no ACL but the reality has sunk in that my knee is just too unstable to compete at this level. I'm having surgery soon so that I can be ready for the World Championships at home in Vail next February.
"On a positive note, this means there will be an additional spot so that one of my teammates can go for gold. Thank you all so much for all of the love and support. I will be cheering for all of the Olympians and especially team USA!"
According to the U.S. Ski Team website, "She is the only American woman to ever capture downhill gold at the Olympics and the only American woman with four World Cup overall titles. [She has] captured a U.S. record 59 World Cup wins. In addition to her 2010 Olympic downhill gold and super G bronze, she holds five World Championship medals, including double gold in 2009."