The clock is ticking on her bid to become the most successful ski racer ever, but Lindsey Vonn has been forced to delay her season debut after injuring her knee in training.
The 34-year-old, who will retire at the end of the season, crashed at Copper Mountain, Colorado, Monday and will miss the three upcoming speed races at Lake Louise, Canada at the end of the month.
Vonn needs five more World Cup wins to beat the 86 of Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark, but will have to wait until at least a super-G in St. Moritz, Switzerland on December 8.
“The good news; I do NOT need surgery,” Vonn posted to her social media accounts. “The bad news; I won’t be able to race in Lake Louise.”
Speed specialist Vonn has clinched 18 wins in 44 starts at Lake Louise and was tipped to close in on Stenmark’s record in the two downhills and a super-G on the Alberta track.
“Lake Louise has always been my favorite stop on the World Cup tour and I am devastated to not be coming this year,” she added. “Don’t worry though, I am down but I am NOT out!!”
Vonn insists she will retire at the end of the season whether or not she breaks the record, set by technical expert Stenmark between 1975 and 1989.
“If I get it, that would be a dream come true,” she told NBC in October.
“If I don’t, I think I’ve had an incredibly successful career no matter what.”
A single win this year will also make her the oldest woman to win a World Cup race, overtaking Austria’s Elisabeth Goerg who was 33 years and 301 days old.
Vonn’s compatriot Mikalea Shiffrin opened her season account with victory in a slalom in Levi, Finland Saturday to take her World Cup tally to 44 wins.
The 23-year-old Shiffrin will be going for a fourth straight world slalom title at alpine skiing’s biennial World Championships, in Are, Sweden in February.
Vonn, who clinched Olympic downhill bronze in South Korea in February to add to a gold and bronze from Vancouver, won her only world titles in downhill and super-G in 2009.