U.S. skier and Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn was airlifted from an Austrian mountain today after she crashed during the women's Super-G event at the world championships in Schladming. After being treated on the hill, she was flown to a local hospital with a serious injury to her right knee and leg. According to medical reports, Vonn tore her anterior cruciate and medial colllateral ligaments and sustained a fractured tibia.
Vonn was about halfway through her run, and trailing eventual winner Tina Maze (Slovenia) by 0.12 seconds, when she lost her balance off of a jump. Her right leg went down first, bending her knee inward and causing her to tumble through a gate. Here's video:
Prior to Vonn's run, the start had been delayed 13 times due to fog, and again when a race steward crashed after eight skiers had gone. That meant that the light—and, with it, visibility—was fading and snow conditions had worsened considerably by the time the favorites, including four-time World Cup champion Vonn, took to the hill.
After Vonn's crash, two other event favorites, Maria Hoefl-Riesch (Germany) and Anna Fenninger (Austria), also failed to navigate the tricky conditions and ended up dropping out.
The crash was a hard blow during a tough season for Vonn, who was hospitalized in November for severe intestinal pains and ended up missing some races. For Maze, though, who won the event in one minute 35.39 seconds, the race marked her first World Cup championship after a meteoric rise this season in which she's nearly doubled the point total of her next closest competitor.
We'll keep you posted as we learn more about Vonn's condition.