|Lindsey Vonn. (AP-Yonhap News)|
LAKE LOUISE, Canada (AFP) ― Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn will return to competitive action for the first time in 10 months in Friday’s World Cup downhill, the U.S. star confirmed, in a major step towards getting fit for the Olympics.
“Thankful and happy to announce I will be starting in the World Cup downhill race tomorrow!!!...,” tweeted the 29-year-old.
Vonn made the decision after taking part in her first official training run since last season on Wednesday. She posted the 22nd-fastest time but more importantly suffered no setback with her injured right knee.
“Feels great to be back on the World Cup tour!,” she posted on Facebook on Thursday. “After some good training at home in Vail and a solid downhill training run yesterday I’ve decided to take today as a rest day but I will be racing tomorrow. I can’t wait for my first race.”
She had been sidelined after tearing a right knee ligament last month, reinjuring the same knee that was operated on in February after a fall at the World Championships in Austria.
She has opted to forego more surgery in a bid to be ready to defend the downhill title she won at Vancouver in the Sochi Olympics in February.
There Vonn hopes to emulate the feat of former U.S. speed queen Picabo Street, who came back the season after reconstructive surgery to win an Olympic gold medal at the 1998 Nagano Games.
Vonn opted not to take part in Thursday’s World Cup downhill training, trusting to her knowledge of the Lake Louise hill where she has won 14 times.
That includes a sweep of all three race titles in each of the past two years.
She finished in the first three in 20 of the past 25 World Cup races on the Canadian slopes of the Rocky Mountains.
Vonn won World Cup overall titles in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012 and with 59 race wins she is three shy of matching the women‘s World Cup record owned by Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell.