Lindsey Vonn crashes at super-G ski world championships, is airlifted off slopes with injured knee

11:11 AM, Feb 5, 2013   |    comments
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Lindsey Vonn

SCHLADMING, Austria (AP) - Tina Maze of Slovenia provisionally won the super-G at the world championships on Tuesday, and Lindsey Vonn was hospitalized after a crash.

The four-time overall world champion lost balance on her right leg while landing after a jump. Her ski came off immediately, and Vonn slid off course and hit a gate before coming to a standstill.

Scroll down to watch video of Vonn's crash

Vonn received medical treatment on the slope for 12 minutes before being airlifted to the hospital.

The crash came almost exactly one year before the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Several racers struggled with the conditions.

"It's not a very difficult course but in some parts you couldn't see anything," Fabienne Suter of Switzerland said.

Vonn herself, in a special for The Denver Post, had written of her frustrations with the weather ahead of competition. She wrote it snowed a lot Sunday night, making training impossible Monday.

"We were supposed to have free skiing on the race course Monday, which means two or three runs for you to learn about the terrain and snow conditions," Vonn wrote.

"But because it snowed so much, they closed it to everyone including coaches. None of our staff has been on the hill. We don't know what shape the hill is in. We don't know anything about it."

Vonn returned to the circuit last month after taking an almost month-long break from racing to fully recover from an intestinal illness that put her in a hospital for two days in November.

The U.S. ski team said Vonn had posted the fastest first interval and was having a strong run when she went down. She trailed race leader Tina Maze of Slovenia by 0.12 seconds shortly before the crash.

"We were here last year for the World Cup finals, so I feel like I know the hill pretty well, but it always feels a little awkward when you don't get a chance to free ski the hill before you race," Vonn wrote in The Post. "It's tricky to know the terrain when all you have to go on is course inspection the morning of the race."

The race, which was postponed for 3 1/2 hours because of thick fog hanging over the course, restarted after a 15-minute delay.

Maze won the race in 1 minute, 35.39 seconds, beating Lara Gut of Switzerland by 0.38. Julia Mancuso of the United States was 0.52 behind in third.

Some lower-ranked racers were still to start.

The race had been delayed by 3½ hours because of fog hanging over the course.

The men's super-G is scheduled for Wednesday.

Video of Vonn being airlifted:

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