Ski champion Lindsey Vonn of the US underwent successful knee surgery, an injury that forced her to pull out of the Olympics just weeks before the US team was set to leave for Sochi.
Vonn’s spokesperson, Lewis Kay, said the surgery was performed on Tuesday by doctor Jim Andrews and that she hoped to be back competing in February next year.
“Lindsey Vonn underwent successful ACL reconstruction surgery yesterday,” Kay said. “[Doctors] expect her to make a full recovery in time for next year’s World Championships in Vail, Colorado.”
The 29-year-old Vonn posted a photo on her Facebook page of herself resting in bed, cradling the head of her dog Leo in her arms.
“Surgery was successful!” she said. “Resting with loved ones and of course my cuddle buddy Leo.”
“So thankful to have such great people helping me. Will update more later. Xo Lindsey,” she said.
The downhill queen will miss next month’s Winter Games due to the right knee injury she sustained a year ago.
Vonn, who has 59 World Cup race victories to her credit and who is the reigning Olympic downhill champion, badly injured the knee while competing in a super-G at the World Championships in February last year.
After reconstructive surgery on the joint and a lengthy layoff, Vonn returned to World Cup competition at Lake Louise, Canada early last month, but only after she injured the same knee again while training in Colorado in November.
At Lake Louise, Vonn was 40th in the first downhill, 11th in a second downhill and fifth in a super-G.
She then competed in a downhill at Val d’Isere in the French Alps just before Christmas, under the watchful eye of boyfriend Tiger Woods, but failed to finish the race.
“Unfortunately I have no ACL and it just gave out on me,” she said at the time.
Her absence will deprive the US team of their biggest star.
In a high-risk sport that leaves little margin between triumph and tragedy, Vonn has endured several injury nightmares in what has been a spectacular career.
She bounced back from a frightful crash in downhill training at the 2006 Olympics that left her with a badly bruised back, competing just days later.