Lara Gut, the defending women’s World Cup overall champion and a downhill bronze medalist at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, ruptured her left anterior cruciate ligament and suffered meniscus damage during warmups at the world championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland, the Swiss ski federation announced Friday. Gut does not need immediate surgery and more about her recovery time will be known in the next few days, but she is expected to miss the rest of the ski season.
Gut suffered the injury while warming up for the slalom portion of the super combined, NBC Sports reports, and had to be airlifted to a hospital.
Gut should be recovered with plenty of time to spare before next year’s Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, which begin in almost exactly a year.
The ACL “is not as critical in downhill skiing as it is for athletes in sports with more cutting,” said University of Wisconsin orthopedic surgeon Geoffrey Baer, who added that the injury usually happens when a skier takes a spill. “They do it during a fall. It’s pretty rare to injure your ACL while skiing.”
Baer said recovery time is usually around six months, maximum, depending on whether the athlete needs surgery to replace the ligament.
Gut’s injury means Mikaela Shiffrin almost certainly will become the third American woman to win the World Cup overall title. Shiffrin is a commanding 180 points ahead of second-place Gut in the points standings, and no other skier is within range of them.