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Vonn to return on Dec. 21

Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch, left, is congratulated by Lindsey Vonn, of the USA, following the women's World Cup downhill ski race in Lake Louise, Alberta on Saturday.
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh | CP

Mapping out her Olympics preparation after a three-race test, Lindsey Vonn will skip this weekend’s World Cup stop at St. Moritz, Switzerland, and is planning to return to the circuit in a downhill at Val d’Isere, France, on Dec. 21.

Vonn’s schedule was announced Wednesday by the U.S. Ski Team.

The 29-year-old American returned to competition at Lake Louise, Alberta, last week, 10 months after tearing two ligaments in her right knee and breaking a bone in that leg during a crash at the world championships. She also had a setback when she partially re-tore one of those surgically reconstructed ligaments in a fall during practice on Nov. 19.



Vonn finished 40th in a downhill Friday in her World Cup season debut, then 11th in another downhill Saturday, and fifth in a super-G on Sunday.

Asked after that last event what those 72 hours of racing told her, Vonn replied: “It tells me that I do need a couple more starts. I want to make sure that I get on the podium at least once, if not win, before … Sochi. For me, mentally, I really want to have that in my back pocket.”



She also indicated she did not think she needed much more in the way of World Cup work before heading to the Olympics, which start in less than two months.

“I know that I’m skiing well, so I know that I don’t need to push myself and try to push the limits of my knee to race as many as races as I can. … I’m ready for Sochi,” Vonn said Sunday. “I may race in one or two races, something like that.”

She added the she wanted to limit her schedule so as to “take the risk away from any long-term damage on my knee.”

The races she’ll miss at St. Moritz are a super-G and giant slalom. She’s won the downhill at Val d’Isere three times — in 2005, 2006 and 2010. After that initial victory there, Vonn was awarded a cow by local farmers.

Vonn won two medals at the 2010 Vancouver Games, including a gold in the downhill, and she is a four-time overall World Cup champion. Her 59 race wins are three shy of the World Cup career record.

Vonn explained that she would work with her coaches to figure out when to race ahead of going to Sochi.

“We take everything day to day and week to week with her and … there won’t be nearly as much volume, because the one thing we don’t have to do with Lindsey is teach her how to ski,” U.S. Ski Team women’s speed coach Chip White said at Lake Louise. “We’re just going to try to make sure that the training and racing that she does is quality and trying not to take an unnecessary risk with her.”

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Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich


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