Skier Lindsey Vonn, one of the biggest stars on the United States’ Olympic team — and one of the biggest attractions for NBC — announced Tuesday that she would miss next month’s Sochi Games because of a right knee injury.
Vonn, 29, wrote on Facebook that she was “devastated” by the decision, but that “the reality has sunk in that my knee is just too unstable to compete at this level.”
She added, “I did everything I possibly could to somehow get strong enough to overcome having no ACL.”
Vonn, a two-time medalist (one gold, one bronze) in 2010 in Vancouver, already was one of the biggest names on the American team, and her visibility only has grown since she began dating golfer Tiger Woods.
Vonn first injured her knee last February, tearing two ligaments during a crash at the world championships. She reinjured her surgically repaired anterior cruciate ligament in November, returned to competition in December but never fully regained her health.
She suffered a medial collateral ligament sprain that complicated her original injury — before giving up her quest Tuesday. She is expected to have more surgery soon.
In 2010, Vonn became the first American woman to win a gold medal in the Olympic downhill. She also won two gold medals at the Worlds in 2009 and has won four overall World Cup championships.
“Thank you all so much for all of the love and support,” she wrote. “I will be cheering for all of the Olympians and especially team USA!”
NBC hires Kerrigan. While Lazarus said he would be open to speaking to Vonn about a role in Sochi, NBC unveiled an even bigger star of Olympics past when it announced Nancy Kerrigan would work for the network at the Winter Games.
Kerrigan will serve in a variety of capacities, but she will not be a color analyst during the figure skating competition itself. She also agreed to participate in a long-form feature NBC will show during the Games about the 1994 episode in which Kerrigan was attacked before the Games by an assailant hired by rival Tonya Harding’s ex-husband and her bodyguard.
“It’s not something I think about on a daily basis unless I’m asked,” Kerrigan said, a day after the 20th anniversary of that attack. “That was a part of my life that was just bizarre. To be remembered as a victim of an attack as opposed to having two Olympic medals and all the hard work that went into it, I hope that doesn’t overshadow everything that I did. It was just a moment.”