Lindsey Vonn will not be starting in what has traditionally been her most successful World Cup event. After crashing during a Super G training run at Copper Mountain this week and re-injuring her knee, Vonn will be skipping the first World Cup downhill and Super G races of the season at Lake Louise, Alberta, slated for Nov. 30-Dec. 2.
“The good news: I do not need surgery. The bad news: I won’t be able to race in Lake Louise,” Vonn posted on Instagram. “Lake Louise has always been my favorite stop on the World Cup tour and I am devastated to not be coming this year.”
Lake Louise is always a highly anticipated race for Vonn and her fans given her history of success there. Over her career Vonn has collected 18 World Cup wins at Lake Louise, causing the venue to be nicknamed “Lake Lindsey.” In 2016, Vonn scored a hat trick at Lake Louise, winning all three speed events over the weekend.
This year’s Lake Louise race has been even more highly anticipated, with the world waiting to see if Vonn could pull off another perfect weekend there to add three wins to her current 82, bringing her within one of Ingemar Stenmark’s record.
Vonn announced in October that this coming season would be her last—whether or not she beats Stenmark’s record to become the world’s most decorated alpine racer, male or female, of all time. Though she’s announced her retirement come what may, she’s still gunning for that record. “As much as I’m going to soak in [my last] season, I’m still out there to win. I’m hoping to break the record. I’m never going to be in the starting gate to just check out the scenery,” Vonn said in an interview prior to her latest injury.
With Lake Louise off the table, Vonn goes into her final season with a disadvantage. She’ll now have three fewer chances to rack up wins to surpass Stenmark’s record, not to mention having to overcome another injury in a short amount of time if she hopes to be ready for the next World Cup downhill in Val d’Isere, scheduled for Dec. 14-16.
Though the odds may seem stacked against her right now, it would be a mistake to write Vonn—and her ability to catch up to or break Stenmark’s record—off this early in the season. Vonn is a comeback queen, having overcome countless serious injuries over her 18-year career on the U.S. Ski Team to become the most decorated female skier of all time. If anything, Vonn’s injuries seem to make her stronger; instead of holding her back physically or mentally, they appear to give her an edge over her competitors.
“My injuries, while painful and difficult, have been an important lesson and taught me a lot about myself and what I’m capable of dealing with,” Vonn said. “Not everyone can take the kind of injuries I’ve taken and still come back. It takes a certain person who can fight through that.”
And time after time, Vonn has proven that she is that certain person. Last season, Vonn crashed at the Lake Louise event and still rebounded to snag five World Cup victories over the course of the season. If she can do that again, she has Stenmark’s record in the bag.
The first men's World Cup downhill and Super G events take place in Lake Louise on Nov. 24-25. Get results right here on SKImag.com.