Nightly News   |  January 07, 2014

Skiing Champion Lindsey Vonn Won’t Compete in Olympics

Lindsey Vonn was going to go for the gold in Sochi, until her surgically repaired knee gave out on her, dousing dreams of an Olympic comeback.

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>>> the biggest name on the u.s. winter olympic team is out, with less than a month to go until the games begin in sochi , russia. lindsay vonn says she is devastated but has to skip the olympics to have knee surgery.

>> reporter: it had all the makings of a comeback story. just one year after a heart stopping crash.

>> she is down.

>> reporter: recent signs have been promising. last month, she had an impressive fifth place finish.

>> i'm happy to be back.

>> at her next race, just over two weeks to go in france, the surgically repaired knee she worked so hard to rehab buckled. with buy friend tiger woods in the crowd, vonn was visibly in pain.

>> i tried to make the turn but i didn't have a chance.

>> the anterior cruciate ligament was gone. and so was her dream of an olympic comeback. in a statement, vonn said, i am devastated to announce i will not be able to compete in sochi , i did everything i possibly could to somehow get strong enough to have no acl. the reality has sunk in that my knee is just too unstable to compete at this level.

>> she's consulted with a lot of people on it. she knows her body, and the demands of her support.

>> vonn is famously fearless.

>> even after crashing head first into a fence in november, she remained optimistic.

>> there's a lot of time before sochi , and things are going to turn around.

>> she would likely have been the face of these games with glamorous looks and formidable talent, responsiblers loved her. last year, forbes estimated she earned 3 million$3 million.

>> please welcome lindsay vonn.

>> lindsay is big, i mean, as big as it could possibly get in the world of professional sports . she's going to give an opportunity for somebody else to step up.

>> but for vonn another trip to the olympic podium will have to wait. chris jansen, nbc new york.