Gold medalist skier Lindsey Vonn crashed during the FIS Alpine Ski World Championship super-G race in Schladming, Austria, Tuesday and suffered a season-ending injury to her right knee.
The four-time World Cup overall champion from Vail, Colo., lost balance on her right leg after coming around a turn and trying to stick a landing after a jump. Her right ski came off immediately, and Vonn slid down the race course for several feet on her back, hitting a gate before coming to a stop.
According to U.S. Ski Team Medical Director Kyle Wilkens, the 28-year-old competitive skier tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the medial collateral ligament (MCL) of her right knee and suffered a lateral tibial plateau fracture.
“She will be out for the remainder of this season but is expected to return to racing for the 2013-14 Audi FIS World Cup season and the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia,” the U.S. team said in a statement.
Vonn had posted the fastest first interval and was having a strong run when she went down. She was immediately attended to by race medical officials and then taken to the hospital by helicopter, as is standard protocol, the U.S. team said.
It’s possible weather was a factor in Vonn’s accident. The race was postponed for three and a half hours because of fog and several racers struggled with the conditions — racing in light fog is not uncommon.
“It’s not a very difficult course, but in some parts you couldn’t see anything,” World Cup alpine ski racer Fabienne Suter of Switzerland told the Associated Press.
In her regular column for the Denver Post, Vonn expressed concerns about weather-related challenges, saying because it had snowed so much on Sunday night, event officials closed the course on Monday and she was not able to train that day.
“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 wrote prior to her run. “It always feels a little awkward when you don’t get a chance to free ski the hill before you race. It’s tricky to know the terrain when all you have to go on is course inspection the morning of the race.”
Vonn is a highly decorated skiing star. With 59 World Cup victories under her belt, she is one of only five women to have won World Cup races in all five disciplines of Alpine skiing — downhill, super G, giant slalom, slalom and super combined.
Expected to make a huge showing at the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics, Vonn previously took home a gold medal for downhill skiing and the bronze for the super-G race at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Vonn started racing again in January after missing a few weeks of the season to recover from an intestinal illness, according to the AP.
ABC News’ Sarah RuthGillis contributed to this report.