Image: Vonn of the U.S. leaves after the Women's World Cup Downhill skiing race in Val d'Isere
Reuters file

TODAY   |  January 07, 2014

Lindsey Vonn pulls out of Sochi, cites ‘unstable’ knee

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.”

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>>> it's 8:30 now on this tuesday morning. it's the 7th day of january, 2014 . and we start this half hour with breaking news from the world of sports.

>> that's right, lindsay vonn has just released a statement saying she will not be able to compete in sochi .

>> the statement, i am devastated to announce 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 i can be ready for the world championships at home in vale next february. on a positive note, this means there'll be an additional spot so 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 the olympians and especially team usa . and i just want to say, since that devastating injury last february at the world championships , she has really dedicated herself and worked so hard. her doctor even said her recovery was remarkable. but maybe it was a little bit too much.

>> it must have broken her heart to write that statement. but also to come back. are there other skiers, natalie who will be contenders?

>> another vale competitor, as well, mykala schifron. a lot of people have called her the next lindsey vonn . she could possibly be a contender.

>> heartbreaking news for a woman famous for downhill and for some injuries over the last couple of years. that last injury proved to be an uphill battle she couldn't win in time.

>> when team usa heads to sochi , it will be without one of the fiercest and most famous competitors, lindsey vonn is the most accomplished american skier of all time with four world titles and a gold medal from the vancouver games. many fans thought she would repeat. but then came the brutal crash at the world championships last february. a torn acl and mcl along with a fractured tibia, major knee surgery followed. her surgeon called her recovery remarkable. we caught up with her over the summer in chile at the training camp .

>> anxious to start training.

>> one of her first times back on skis since the crash, her sight set on sochi . when we sat down with vonn again in october, we asked why the olympics are so important.

>> they aren't just about racing, it's not like a normal world cup race, not a normal stop on the tour. you're actually representing your country, not just yourself. and you definitely feel that.

>> your physical shape you're in right now, how would you describe it?

>> physically, i'm very strong. it's hard to say if i'm the strongest i've ever been or not. but i've had the longest preparation time i've ever had in my career.

>> vonn's recovery overshadowed for a time when she went public with her relationship with tiger woods .

>> what made you comfortable enough to get out there and tell people you're a couple?

>> well, i mean, we wanted to stay under the radar for a long time. we wanted to, you know, as normal as we could for as long as we could.

>> back on the slopes, vonn suffered another setback in november when she reinjured her knee during a training run in colorado. and again in france last month. and while her dreams for glory in sochi may have ended, her drive to compete is endless.

>> i'm just not satisfied. i'm just -- i'm not just going to sit back and say that's good enough. it's not good enough. i want more.

>> you get the feeling we're going to see a lot more from lindsey vonn , it's a setback, it's temporary, but as she says, she's gearing for the next year's competition.

>> she's defined what being an olympian is all about. having that spirit and soul.

>> watching at world in vale, though.

>> she says don't bet against me.

>> she was going to try to compete there in beaver creek , i think, it was this year but couldn't and pushed it back. lindsey, if you're watching, go back to bed, first of all, we're thinking about you. we really are.

>> hearts and minds with you.