Alpine skiing: Vonn hurt, Maze crowned in opening race

Tue Feb 5, 2013 2:22pm EST
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By Patrick Lang

SCHLADMING, Austria (Reuters) - The Alpine skiing world championships got off to a bad start when top racer Lindsey Vonn was injured in a season-ending crash in controversial conditions in the opening women's super-G on Tuesday.

Slovenia's Tina Maze, the runaway World Cup leader, kept her momentum to snatch her first gold medal of the competition but her feat was obscured by her rival's crash and the decision to let the race go ahead late in the day when the light was fading.

Vonn, crowned world champion in the discipline in Val d'Isere four years ago, tumbled down the Streciher piste, breaking her shin and tearing ligaments in her right knee in a race taking place nearly four hours behind schedule.

After she had been flown to hospital, the American team said she would miss the rest of the season because of the injuries.

Fog had forced the organizers to delay the race 13 times and the start of the favorites was further postponed by the crash of a race steward after eight skiers had gone down.

Snow conditions and visibility had seriously worsened by the time the American four-times World Cup winner set off, only to suffer the most serious crash in her career.

"Vonn suffered a torn ACL and MCL in her right knee and a lateral tibial plateau fracture," the U.S. team said in a statement.

The crash brought to an end an already troubled season for Vonn, who took a three-week break from racing over New Year to sort out personal and health problems.   Continued...

Lindsey Vonn of the U.S. skis during the women's Super G race at the World Alpine Skiing Championships in Schladming February 5, 2013. REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler