VAIL, Colo. (AP) — Lindsey Vonn is energized by her progress in recovering from a knee injury and might be in the starting gate next week in Canada.
Vonn spoke with The Associated Press on Friday after three early super-G training runs. This was her first big test since she crashed during training at Copper Mountain last week and partially tore a reconstructed ligament in her right knee.
“Definitely, I’m encouraged,” she said. “It’s looking a lot better than everyone expected. Things are going well.”
Wearing a brightly colored jacket over her speed suit, the reigning Olympic downhill champion took an easy opening run through the course on a crisp morning.
On her second pass, Vonn got a little more aggressive, picking up more speed as she glided down the hill. For her third and final run, she opened it up even more to see how her knee responded.
“So far, so good,” she said after her workout.
So much so she remains hopeful she might race in Alberta next week. Asked about her readiness for Lake Louise, Vonn said: “I’m not sure yet. As it looks right now, yeah.”
She concedes there’s plenty more work to do to get into shape.
“I’m taking it day by day. I’m not pushing it that hard yet,” Vonn said. “Today, I was just kind of feeling it out. But the last run was better. It was more like normal. I’m skiing in my clothes and seeing how things go so far. I’m not taking unnecessary risks yet.”
Some say Vonn shouldn’t push so soon, especially with the Sochi Games not until February. Why not come back in January to give her surgically repaired knee more time to heal?
“Because I want to start in Lake Louise,” Vonn said of a course she dominates so much it’s known as “Lake Lindsey.”
She laughed as she unbuckled her ski boots and stuffed them into her car.
“I’m just going to progress every day until Lake Louise,” Vonn said.
Vonn spent Thanksgiving Day squeezing in a little free skiing, posting on her Facebook page: “First day back on snow since my crash and it was awesome!” She also attached a picture of herself — grinning — on an empty slope in Vail.
This, however, was a bigger step.
The 29-year-old Vonn is not planning to attend the season-opening World Cup downhill on the new Beaver Creek course on Friday because “it’s too hard on me.”
Vonn had her sights set on returning for this race after tearing ligaments in her right knee during a high-speed accident at the world championships in February. She was on target, too, before her Copper Mountain crash.