In one of the most anticipated comebacks in winter sports, Olympic champion skier Lindsey Vonn made her return to snow over the weekend in Portillo, Chile. Nearly seven months after a horrific crash that resulted in a torn ACL, torn MCL, and a fractured tibial plateau, the American Olympic gold medalist took some turns and did light drills with her coach—steps, she hopes, in her return for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
“I had absolutely no fear whatsoever,” Vonn said in a video interview. “I was really excited to get back out there.”
The return to snow comes after several surgeries and months of rehab. The most successful American skier in history fell during the Super-G event at the opening day of the World Championships in Austria last February. Interestingly, Vonn had said that the event should be cancelled after course conditions worsened in the days leading up to the contest.
Her injury was so complex that doctors waited weeks before performing surgery, and many feared the injury would be career-threatening. All that was put to rest over the weekend.
“I can’t tell which knee is injured—that’s a good sign,” Vonn stated. “I usually go from a zero to a hundred. I’m not good at the in-between, so this is going to be a challenge.”
The other challenges facing Vonn are her return to full, 100 percent strength, and the start of the World Cup season in Beaver Creek, Colorado, on November 29. Regardless of how that competitive reintroduction goes, Vonn’s eyes are on Sochi in February.
“If I start slow, it’s fine,” she told USA Today Sports last week. “I would love to win as many World Cups as possible, but my main focus is definitely the Olympics.”