Lindsey Vonn, seen after her right knee pain on Dec. 21 at Val d'Isere, France, was looking to repeat as Olympic downhill champ. Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone/AP
Lindsey Vonn announced on Tuesday that she will not compete at the Sochi Olympics due to a knee injury.
The 29-year-old Vail, Colo., native announced her decision on her Facebook page.
"I am devastated to announce that I will not be able to compete in Sochi," Vonn said. "I did everything I possibly could to somehow get strong enough to overcome having no ACL but the reality has sunk in that my knee is just too unstable to compete at this level.
"I'm having surgery soon so that I can be ready for the World Championships at home in Vail next February."
The dominant skier of this era, Vonn on Nov. 19 re-injured ligaments in her right knee that were originally torn in a crash at the world championships in February of last year.
Vonn underwent surgery after that crash and undertook a strenuous rehab program to get back on the World Cup circuit for the 2013-14 season.
She made her debut this season at Lake Louise, Alta., finishing as high as fifth in a trio of races in early December.
But she clutched her knee after a turn at the Val d'Isere downhill on Dec. 21, skiing off course.
"She's come back. She'll be back," Vonn's father, Alan Kildow, said in a telephone interview with the Canadian Press. "You'll see a lot of Lindsey Vonn in the future."
Vonn won gold in the downhill and bronze in the super-G at the Vancouver Games, part of eight medals for the American team. She was the first U.S. woman ever to win the downhill.
She's made headlines off the course through her relationship with golfer Tiger Woods, and her absence deprives the Sochi Games of one of the relatively small number of winter sport athletes who've garnered widespread attenion and acclaim.
Vonn has racked up 59 career World Cup victories and four overall season titles. That's three shy of record Austrian great Annemarie Moser-Proell's record of 62 victories in World Cup races.
"In looking ahead, I have every ounce of confidence that Lindsey will be in the starting gate next World Cup season ready to compete," said Bill Marolt, the CEO and president of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. "She knows the hard work it takes to get to the top and still has significant goals to achieve in what has been an incredible career."
According to Vonn's agent, she will undergo surgery "shortly."With files from The Canadian Press