Nightly News | February 05, 2013
>>> this was a big story earlier today involving one of the best-known names in sports, and if you've watched the past few winter olympics you know lindsey vonn . we've seen her on the slopes, we've seen her in profiles and commercials and today we saw her in a frightening accident while skiing in foggy conditions at the world championships in austria. tonight, the extent of her injuries is now clear. we get our report from nbc's chris jansing .
>> so many traps in this course with the conditions.
>> reporter: it was the kind of jump lindsey vonn has made a thousand times before. but today, a horrific crash.
>> over the top ! and she is down heavily. lindsey vonn --
>> reporter: you can hear the painful screams, and see the shocked reaction on the faces of her fans and competitors.
>> to watch her lie there, of course, as a ski racer and as a commentator, it was horrifying.
>> reporter: medical teams treated vonn for 12 minutes before she was airlifted to the hospital where tests showed two torn ligaments and a bone fracture with the olympics one year away.
>> so we're looking at a window that's really the clock's ticking for her.
>> exactly. some people are back skiing in six months. skiing in the olympics , it's going to be tough.
>> reporter: vonn is out for the rest of the season, but the u.s. ski team believes she will make a comeback in time for the winter games in sochi, russia. she took gold and bronze in vancouver and is a four-time world cup champion. the most successful american skier in history.
>> reporter: a favorite with sponsors, tabloids love her, too. her unconfirmed romance with tiger woods and her revelation that she's battled depression.
>> hi, dad!
>> reporter: but since she was 3 years old she's been happiest on the slopes. telling brian williams in 2010 that this is what she was born to do.
>> i've given my entire life for the sport.
>> reporter: there have been other heart-stopping falls. she came back from a terrible crash in torino two days later. but this time won't be easy.
>> lindsey vonn is so tough, works so hard, if anyone can come back from this in time for the olympics , it's lindsey vonn .
>> reporter: the heart of a champion , with a track record of beating the odds. chris jansing , nbc news, new york.