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Skier Lindsey Vonn Will Miss Winter Olympics Due To Injury

Skier Lindsey Vonn in November, before her latest injury.
Doug Pensinger
Getty Images
Skier Lindsey Vonn in November, before her latest injury.

Saying she is "devastated" to have to miss the competition, Team USA's best-known and most dominant Alpine skier said Tuesday that she will not be competing in next month's Winter Olympics.

Here's what Linsey Vonn posted on her Facebook page:

"I am devastated to announce that 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 that I can be ready for the World Championships at home in Vail next February. On a positive note, this means there will be an additional spot so that 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 of the Olympians and especially team USA!

"XO Lindsey"

The 29-year-old Vonninjured her already surgically repaired right knee on Dec. 21 during a downhill race in Val d'Isere, France.

As Sports Illustrated writes, Vonn is "one of the most dominant ski racers in history (and by far the best U.S. female racer in history). ... Vonn has won 59 World Cup races in her career, just three short of the record held by Annemarie Moser-Proell of Austria; Vonn has four World Cup overall titles. ... After winning the Olympic downhill at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Vonn went on to win the 2010 and '12 overall titles."

She and golf superstar Tiger Woods announced in early 2013 that they are in a relationship.

Update at 12:15 p.m. ET. The Effects Of Her Absence:

"Given her star power,"USA Today writes, "Vonn has been cast as the American face of these Games. When NBC rolled out its huge Olympic blitz, the first promotional spots featured Vonn. She's prominent in Procter & Gamble's 'Thank You, Mom' campaign and sponsored by Under Armour, Head, Red Bull, Oakley and Rolex among others."

Then there's the effect on the team's chances for medals. "Outside of Mikeala Shiffrin who is ranked fifth overall in the standings, the U.S. women have been less than impressive this season," USA Today adds. "[Julia] Mancuso is the next highest ranked American at 32nd."

ESPN notes that U.S. alpine skiers "captured eight medals four years ago in Vancouver, their highest total at any Olympics and twice as many as any other country. That figure may be tough to reach with Vonn sidelined and Bode Miller, who won three medals, trying to return to form after sitting out all last season with a left knee injury."

Update at 9:40 a.m. ET. More On Her Career:

Vonn's Team USA webpage is here. This would have been her fourth Olympics. Along with her gold medal in the 2010 downhill, she won a bronze medal (for finishing third) that year in the Super G.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.