Olympic and World Cup Champion Lindsey Vonn shocked the world of skiing with news that she will be taking an indefinite break from the 2012/2013 Audi FIS World Cup Tour. Citing health issues, which she has been battling since early November, the star skier will suspend all activity with the U.S. Ski Team until she can fully regain her health.
The announcement was released Monday afternoon in the form of a status update on Vonn's Facebook Page.
In the post, Lindsey states:
“After talking with my family and consulting with my coaches and trainers, I have decided to take a break from the World Cup circuit. Since my intestinal infection last month, I have been struggling with my energy and strength. I believe that some time off the mountain will help me regain the physical strength that I require to compete at the level that I demand from myself. I want to be emphatic that this has nothing to do with my recent interview with People Magazine. I had completed that interview weeks before I was in the hospital with the intestinal infection.
I want to thank my sponsors for their continued support. Most of all I want to thank my fans for all of the kind words and love you have shared with me. I wish all of you a happy and healthy holiday and look forward to getting back on the mountain in the New Year.”
Lindsey Vonn began the 2012/2013 World Cup season poised to make serious moves. Hot off a record smashing 2011/2012 season, the 28 year old skier was filled with confidence. It was clear Lindsey came to ski, and even went so far as to challenge the men's division with a request to compete in the Lake Louise downhill. Although her request was ultimately denied, it put the entire world of skiing on notice.
After a shaky opener in Soelden, the skier opted to skip a stop in Levi, Finland in favor of training stateside for the Nature Valley Aspen Winternational on November 24-25. What began as a solid plan quickly turned to disaster when Vonn became stricken with a debilitating intestinal infection during a U.S. Ski Team fundraiser gala in New York City. The illness left the skier hospitalized in Vail for two days after returning home to Colo
rado. Being the dedicated athlete she is, Vonn recovered to a level that allowed her to compete in Aspen two weeks later, and skied to 21st place. While it was positive to see the skier back on her skis, Vonn was meant to be on that podium.
Vonn did go on to win the next two downhills and a super-G in Lake Louise, Alberta (aka “Lake Lindsey”). However, out of the subsequent five races, the skier has only been able to finish two. It is clear that Vonn's strength was not at the level to which she is known for.
After the first downhill race in Lake Louise Vonn confessed, “The only thing I’m concerned about right now is my energy level. I’m just trying to make sure that I can compete throughout the weekend.”
It would seem the frustrations with her health came to head this past weekend in France. Vonn suffered a crash in during the Val d'Isere downhill on Friday, and then skied out again during the first run of Sunday's giant slalom in Courchevel. It is a rare sight to see Lindsey Vonn lose control of her skis during an event, let alone twice in the same weekend.
Taking a temporary break from the World Cup grind is an intelligent decision. Aside from the fact that one's health is the most important factor in life, this move comes at a strategic time in the competitive season. The impression is that Vonn will remain stateside through the upcoming holidays, and if all goes well, could potentially be back on the slopes in January. She would be missing two events in Are, Sweden on December 19-20 and Semmering, Austria 28-29. However, she would be poised to return in time for the stop in St. Anton, Austria on January 12-13, 2013 for downhill and super G events — Vonn's forte. While she would miss out on a few point opportunities, the hope is that Vonn will be able to get her energy to where it needs to be for the remainder of the season.
Vonn currently resides in fourth place in the overall World Cup point race.
We all at The Ski Channel wish Lindsey the best of luck in her recovery, and look forward to seeing her back on the slopes as soon as she is ready.