With the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, just five months away, athletes are entering the home stretch of their preparations.
World champion skier Lindsey Vonn is just getting started, however, as she was back on the slopes at the U.S. Ski Team training camp in Portillo, Chile, Sunday for the first time since suffering a severe knee injury in a brutal crash back in February, according to Nick Zaccardi of NBCSports.com.
It has been a long road back for Vonn, but she seems determined to return to top form in time for the Olympics. Her work Sunday was light, as seen in this photo, courtesy of ESPN's Darren Rovell, but it was a huge step in the right direction nonetheless.
According to Zaccardi, Vonn has battled back from a torn ACL and MCL as well as a lateral tibial fracture, so even getting to this point is a major victory.
It is no secret that a skier's knees are hugely important, especially in downhill skiing, as there is plenty of cutting and planting involved. It isn't unlike an NFL running back, and as most football fans know, a torn ACL is about the worst injury a player can suffer.
Recovery time varies for football players, but it is well-documented that Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson suffered a torn ACL at the end of the 2011 season only to return in time for the start of the 2012 season. He even came within a few yards of breaking the single-season rushing record.
Vonn will look to channel her inner AP as her march toward full recovery continues. She has yet to go all out, but she feels as though the injury is currently a non-factor.
Vonn said, according to Zaccardi:
I can’t tell which knee is injured—that’s a good sign. I usually go from zero to a hundred. I’m not good in between so this is going to be a challenge. Another challenge, test of my patience.
Vonn's boyfriend, legendary golfer Tiger Woods, also knows a thing or two about knee injuries. He fought through one to win the 2008 U.S. Open, which is coincidentally the last major championship he won. Woods has had his ups and downs, but he is back to being the top golfer in the world, and Vonn is hopeful that she can reach that level as a skier.
Vonn won a gold and a bronze medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and if her speedy recovery is any indication, she could very well add some more hardware to her collection a few months down the line.
Before she can do that, though, Vonn must get ready for the 2013-14 World Cup season. Vonn is already one of the most prolific World Cup skiers of all time, and she can ascend to the top of that list with three more wins as she would surpass Annemarie Moser-Proll's record of 62.
Provided Vonn is able to do that, there is little doubt that she will be ready to compete on the big stage in Sochi.
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