Alpine skiers get used to coming back successfully from injuries.
That's why Lindsey Vonn feels certain she can be as good as ever — or better — by the time the Sochi Olympics begin next year, even though the injuries she sustained in a Feb. 5 crash at the world championships in Austria were the most serious of a career filled with them.
"I'm not necessarily more worried about this injury than others," she said Friday in a conference call. "It's just more severe than I've had in the past."
In her first comments since Feb. 10 surgery to repair torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments, Vonn criticized race officials for letting the fateful Super-G go on after a two-hour delay caused by fog that softened and loosened the snow. Vonn, who started 19th, thinks the conditions were unsafe.
While lying on the snow after the crash, Vonn called U.S. coach Alex Hoedelmoser, a member of the officials' jury, to tell him they should stop the race.
Yet Slovenia's Tina Maze, who had started just before Vonn, won it. The two skiers immediately after Vonn failed to finish, but the next, Julia Mancuso of the U.S., won the bronze medal. Only one of the seven who followed Mancuso — before the race eventually was stopped — failed to finish.
Vonn blamed the loose, soft snow for losing control as she landed from a jump.
"It was not slick, basically," she said. "My right ski completely stopped. That's why my knee buckled, and I flew over my (ski) tips."
Vonn also sustained a hairline fracture of the tibial plateau and minor cartilage damage in the crash.
"There was nothing unexpected in the surgery, nothing that will take longer (to rehab) than planned," she said.
Vonn, an Olympic and world champion and the most decorated U.S. skier in history, hopes to be back on snow by November.
"It doesn't take me long to get ready to race again," she said.
A November start would give her three months before the Olympics.
"In some ways I'm the underdog now, and maybe that will help ease the pressure a little bit," she said.
The underdog story also may deflect some attention from her reported relationship with Tiger Woods. She declined to answer a question about it Friday.
Ski jump favorite: U.S. athletes led the long fight to get women's ski jumping into the Olympics.
Now one has become a gold-medal favorite when their event debuts in Sochi.
That's Sarah Hendrickson, 18, of Park City, Utah, who won the world title Friday in Val di Fiemme, Italy. Her expected chief rival at the 2014 Olympics, Sara Takanashi of Japan, was second.