Lindsey Vonn

Cal Sport Media via AP Images

Lindsey Vonn is withdrawing from competing in the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, she announced on Tuesday, Jan. 7. The news comes 11 months after she underwent major knee surgery.

"I did everything I possibly could to somehow get strong enough to overcome having no ACL but the reality has sunk in that my knee is just too unstable to compete at this level," Vonn told Today in a statement. The athlete had hoped to defend her gold medal in the downhill from the 2010 Olympics.

In a separate Facebook post, the 29-year-old said, "I'm having surgery soon so that I can be ready for the World Championships at home in Vail next February. 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!"

Nearly three weeks after Vonn's right knee gave out during a downhill race in France, an "MRI showed an MCL sprain, which coupled with the torn ACL, has made it impossible to stabilize her knee and be ready to safely ski again next month," the skier's rep explained. "She will have surgery shortly and is expected to make a full recovery in time for the 2014/15 World Cup season and the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships in Vail-Beaver Creek."

In February 2013, Vonn tore the anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in her right knee and fractured her tibia after crashing in Schlamding, Austria. Nine months later, she partially tore one of the reconstructed ligaments in her knee after crashing a training run in Colorado.

"I don't think I was pushing myself too hard,'' Tiger Woods' girlfriend told Today after her injuring herself in November. "It just was unfortunately a fluke accident. That's the risk you take when you're going 80-90 miles an hour down a mountain. That's just part of the job, but I've picked myself back up, and I'm trying as hard as I can to keep going. I'm working as hard as I can."

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