Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso to miss World Cup season opener
Lindsey Vonn will miss the World Cup season-opening race in Soelden, Austria, for a fourth straight year.
Julia Mancuso is also out of the Oct. 22 giant slalom as she works on returning from hip surgery, according to the U.S. Ski Team.
Sochi Olympic champions Mikaela Shiffrin and Ted Ligety are expected to race in Soelden next weekend (NBC Sports app, 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. ET, Oct. 22 and Oct. 23).
Universal HD will air the women’s event Oct. 22 at 3 p.m. ET. NBCSN will air the men’s event Oct. 23 at 9:30 p.m. ET (more Olympic sports broadcast information here).
Vonn’s absence is unsurprising, given her best events are the downhill and super-G. Vonn has raced nine giant slaloms the last two seasons, with one victory, a fifth, a 13th, a 14th and five DNFs.
Vonn has said she’s focusing on World Cup wins rather than the season-long overall title, an indication that she could pass up more giant slaloms, slaloms and super combineds in favor of gearing up for downhills and super-Gs. She turns 32 years old on Tuesday.
The first downhill and super-G this season are the first weekend of December in Lake Louise, Canada, where Vonn has experienced incredible success in her career. Vonn and Mancuso could also decide to race the next giant slalom in Killington, Vt., on Nov. 26.
Vonn is 10 wins shy of the career World Cup record of 86 held by retired Swede Ingemar Stenmark.
Vonn won eight races in 2014-15 and nine races in 2015-16. If she stays healthy, Vonn can break Stenmark’s record before the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
Vonn has two more reasons to miss Soelden.
She is coming back from another major injury, three fractures in her left knee caused by a Feb. 27 race crash.
Vonn has also been away from the ski slopes in recent weeks, promoting her new book, “Strong is the new Beautiful.”
Mancuso, a medalist at the last three Olympics, missed all of last season after November hip surgery. She has been training gates this week for the first time since March 2015, according to her Instagram, but her World Cup race return has not been determined, according to the U.S. Ski Team.