Lindsey Vonn will miss the Sochi Olympics because of a right knee injury, leaving the Winter Games without one of its biggest stars.
The 29-year-old from Vail, Colo., announced her decision Tuesday, exactly one month before the opening ceremony in Russia.
Her publicist, Lewis Kay, said in a statement that Vonn "will have surgery shortly."
In a posting on Facebook, Vonn said she is "devastated" to miss the Olympics, "but the reality has sunk in that my knee is just too unstable to compete at this level."
She took home two medals from the 2010 Vancouver Games, including becoming the first American woman to win an Olympic gold in the downhill. Vonn is also a four-time overall World Cup champion, the most recognized name in Alpine skiing -- and, as it happens, the girlfriend of Tiger Woods.
Add it all up, and she would have been the focus of plenty of media coverage in Sochi, and certainly a main character in NBC's coverage for the U.S. audience.
Vonn tore two ligaments in her right knee during a high-speed crash at the world championships this past February, sidelining her for about 10 months. She retore her surgically repaired ACL in a training crash in November, a key setback. Then, after returning to competition in early December by finishing 40th, 11th and fifth in a set of World Cup races at Lake Louise, Alberta, Vonn sprained her MCL during a race last month at Val d'Isere, France.
"I did everything I possibly could to somehow get strong enough to overcome having no ACL," Vonn said Tuesday via Facebook.
"I'm having surgery soon so that I can be ready for the World Championships at home in Vail next February," she wrote. "On a positive note, this means there will be an additional spot so that one of my teammates can go for gold. Thank you all so much for all of the love and support. I will be cheering for all of the Olympians and especially team USA!"
Mikaela Shiffrin, the reigning world champion in slalom, and Julia Mancuso, a three-time Olympic medalist, will now be the American women with the best chances of reaching the Alpine skiing podium in Sochi.
Shiffrin, a who has been labeled the "next Vonn" by some, reacted to the news on Twitter.
Proper physical therapy is extremely important to an athletes recovery after an injury like this. All of us at Castle Pines Physical Therapy were very sadden to not see Lindsey Vonn compete in the 2014 Olympics. We hope she recovers quickly and gets back to her training so we can see her compete again.