TODAY   |  December 07, 2013

After injury, Lindsey Vonn hits the slopes

With a lightweight brace on her previously injured knee, Lindsey Vonn returned to world cup competition with the hope of making it to the Olympics in Sochi. NBC’s Joe Fryer reports.

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>>> olympic skier lindsey vonn is hoping to make it to the olympics in february after that devastating crash earlier this year. her first big test? it came last night. joe fryar is in alberta, canada.

>> reporter: the temperature is 35 below zero today! lindsey vonn is scheduled to subsidy ski in her second post injury race after marking her return with race number one.

>> reporter: now the moment everyone is waiting for.

>> reporter: the bitter cold temps delayed her race by an hour.

>> lindsey vonn racing again.

>> reporter: but that was nothing for lindsey vonn who had been waiting nearly a year for this moment.

>> first big test.

>> reporter: she admitted a couple of nerves accompanied her down the hill.

>> i'm just happy to be back. definitely skiing not as confident as i normally do.

>> now has dropped back!

>> reporter: a high speed crash ten months ago tore two ligaments in her right knee and broke her leg forcing vonn to undergo major surgery and partial ligament tear while practicing last month raised fears would she be ready for soc sochi? a question she couldn't answer with absolute certainty last week during an interview with matt lauer on "today."

>> i have to take it day-by-day right now. i still have time for sochi.

>> reporter: she offered up a stronger answer on friday. with a white brace on her knee, vonn returned to world cup competition on a place dubbed lake lindsay because 14 of her world cup wins have taken place here.

>> i think she concede well and it seems like she had a plan to ski at 85% and progress into tomorrow's race and get to the bottom with confidence. and i believe she did that.

>> reporter: in the end, vonn placed 40th out of 60 racers and finishing is a victory to many, vonn's competitive drive is clearing pushing her to do more.

>> i know it's possible to ski a lot better than it is today and i know i'm capable of winning and i've done it many times here so i'm just going to keep trying.

>> reporter: analysts say we want to keep an eye on her knee to see if it is swollen or sore this weekend. a downhill race is slated for today. the super g is on sunday. erica?

>> one quick question. joe, did you say 35 below?

>> reporter: yes. and that is just the temperature right now here in lake louise .

>> reporter: talk about taking one for the team. go inside and get some hot chocolate . it