TODAY's Takeaway

TODAY's Takeaway: Vonn pulls out of Olympics, Al reports on polar vortex

Jan. 7, 2014 at 4:38 PM ET

Lindey Vonn pulls out of Sochi, Al reports on the polar vortex and Natalie announces her "Shine a Light" cause.
Lindey Vonn pulls out of Sochi, Al reports on the polar vortex and Natalie announces her "Shine a Light" cause.

1. News broke this morning that gold medalist Lindsey Vonn will not compete in the upcoming Winter Olympics.

“The reality has sunk in that my knee is just too unstable to compete at this level," said the skier, who underwent major surgery 11 months ago.

Video: Skiing superstar Lindsey Vonn will not compete at next month’s Olympics in Sochi, saying in a statement that, “I did everything I possibly could to somehow get strong enough to overcome having no ACL.”

Vonn’s fellow Olympians Evan Lysacek and Shawn Johnson expressed their support soon after the announcement. “My heart is broken for her today,” Lysacek told

2. A blast of arctic air known as the polar vortex plunged temperatures in all 50 states — including Hawaii — below freezing.

Video: While a deep freeze grips the area, volunteers are out in full force at the Youth Link Drop-In Center in Minneapolis, where homeless teens are finding refuge from the cold. NBC’s Dylan Dreyer reports.

3. Al, Natalie and Willie announced the causes they’ll support this year as part of TODAY’s Shine a Light series.

Their goals: to join a USO tour, raise awareness for victims of last year’s Boston Marathon bombing, and renovate a homeless shelter. Follow their progress on our Shine a Light Facebook page.

Video: As part of the new TODAY series, Al Roker revealed he’ll join a U.S.O. tour to honor the troops, Natalie Morales hopes to run the Boston marathon and Willie Geist will renovate a homeless shelter.

4. Kathie Lee and Hoda noshed on foods that can help you stay beautiful, according to chef and food writer Candice Kumai.

Video: What you eat can affect how beautiful you are. Chef and food writer Candice Kumai shares some delicious foods that can enhance your appearance, such as avocados, coconut oil and almond butter.

And that’s TODAY’s Takeaway!