Lindsey Vonn withdraws from 2014 Olympics

Lindsey Vonn won't defend her Olympic downhill title in Sochi. (USATSI)

Former Olympic downhill champion Lindsey Vonn announced early Tuesday morning that she will be unable to compete in the upcoming Sochi Olympics after her comeback attempt following a partially torn ACL in November fell short. 

“I did everything I possibly could to somehow get strong enough to overcome having no anterior cruciate ligament but the reality has sunk in that my knee is just too unstable to compete at this level,” Vonn posted on Facebook early Tuesday. Via her publicist, Vonn will have surgery on her knee shortly. 

Vonn, 29, suffered her partially torn ACL on Nov. 19 in Colorado but returned to the World Cup circuit just weeks after. Then during a World Cup race in France on Dec. 21, her knee buckled, jeopardizing her Olympic prospects.

After that incident, Vonn elaborated on the nature of her latest injury: "The thing is, I have no ACL. So unless I get surgery, there's nothing really magical that I can do that's going to make it better." 

It was the same knee which required medical reconstruction following a devastating crash this past February. Vonn tore her ACL and her MCL in that crash, and she spent the majority of 2013 rehabbing. 

Despite her most recent comeback attempt, it became increasingly apparent that her chances of competeting in Sochi were deteriorating. Even after aggravating her knee in France, she remained adamant that she could defend her title, despite her coach saying that there was a possibility she wouldn't race again before the February Games. 

Vonn's success, coupled with her highly publicized boyfriend, Tiger Woods, means that the US team will be missing one of its most recognizable and decorated athletes. Vonn's 59 World Cup race wins rank second all-time to Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell's 62.

Tuesday's announcement assures that Vonn won't be able to defend her Olympic downhill title that she took in Vancouver in 2010.  

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