International Ski Federation (FIS) Alpine Skiing World Cup leader Lindsey Vonn has been ruled out for the rest of the season after scans showed she suffered a fractured leg during a crash in Andorra.
The American, Olympic downhill champion at Vancouver 2010, was injured during the super-G event at the World Cup in Soldeu last Saturday (February 27) but competed in the Alpine combined competition the following day, despite the hairline fracture.
Vonn, who has already secured the overall downhill World Cup title, managed to finish 13th to extend her advantage at the top of the leaderboard to 28 points over nearest challenger, Switzerland's Lara Gut, on 1,235.
She was rushed to hospital following the crash and the extent of her injury has now been confirmed after she underwent a further MRI scan, which revealed she had suffered three fractures to her tibial plateau.
As a result, the 31-year-old will be unable to compete for the rest of the season, meaning she will miss the last eight World Cup races.
“Further damage [to] any of the fragments could result in a serious surgery that would risk my future in ski racing,” Vonn said in a statement on her Facebook pae.
“With the World Championships in St Moritz next year and the Winter Olympics in South Korea the following year, I cannot take that risk.
"So I have made the decision to end my season.
“I am very proud of what I have been able to accomplish this year: nine World Cup victories, breaking the World Cup downhill win record, breaking the World Cup super-G podium record, and winning the most World Cup discipline titles - 20 - of any skier, male or female.
"While I am confident that I'm making the right decision, it still doesn't make this decision any easier.”
It has been a largely successful season for Vonn, who broke the record for FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup downhill victories when she claimed her 37th success in Cortina D’Ampezzo in Italy in January.
Her tally took her past the previous best of 36, set by Austria's Annemarie Moser-Pröll in 1980.
Vonn was then involved in controversy earlier this month as she posted an angry video on social media, which depicted her smashing her skis made by her sponsor Head with a hammer following a crash in the downhill race at the World Cup event in La Thuile in Italy.
She quickly deleted the post and released a statement apologising for her actions.
Gut, her main rival for the overall World Cup crown, had claimed that Vonn “always makes theatre” and that the whole field knew the American would return despite the crash on the first day of the competition in Andorra.