SCHLADMING, Austria - U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn crashed during the super-G and has been taken by helicopter to a hospital from the world championships after injuring her right knee.
According to U.S. Ski Team Medical Director Kyle Wilkens, Vonn suffered a torn ACL and MCL in her right knee and 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.
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.
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.
Days of snow and rain had affected the course and softened the surface especially in the lower part. The evening before the race, FIS women's race director Atle Skaardal called it an "extreme situation."
Several racers struggled with the conditions, with favorites like Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany and Anna Fenninger of Austria failing to finish.
"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. According to U.S. Ski Team press officer Doug Haney, Schladming received a foot and a half of fresh snow Monday.
Maze provisionally won the women's super-G in 1 minute, 35.39 seconds, beating Lara Gut of Switzerland by 0.38. The USA's Julia Mancuso took bronze, 0.52 behind.
After eight starters, the race was interrupted for 15 minutes following a crash by a course worker, who needed to be taken off the course by helicopter.
There was no immediate information available on his condition.
Vonn had won 18 of the last 28 World Cup super-G races. She is the four-time defending World Cup champion in the discipline.
The men's super-G is scheduled for Wednesday.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)