Olympic ski champion Mikaela Shiffrin heading home for knee injury

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Olympic slalom champion Mikaela Shiffrin is going home to the United States for medical care after injuring her right knee while warming up for a World Cup giant slalom in Are, Sweden.

"I am flying home tomorrow for a complete evaluation. I have at least MCL (medial collateral ligament) injury and bone bruising, hopefully no additional injury. Full diagnosis and recovery predictions after I'll see a doctor at home," Shiffrin wrote on Facebook on Saturday.

Shiffrin crashed during a free skiing session on the competition hill and missed Saturday's race.

"She basically flipped over into the net," Shiffrin's manager, Kilian Albrecht, told The Associated Press.

She will also miss Sunday's slalom, and it's unclear if she'll be able to return in time for a giant slalom in Courchevel, France, next weekend.

The U.S. Ski Team did not immediately issue a statement on Shiffrin's status, as per team policy to await full injury details.

She was taken to a hospital in Ostersund, Albrecht said.

The 20-year-old Shiffrin won the slalom at the 2014 Sochi Games, and at the last two world championships.

Shiffrin also won the opening two slaloms this season in Aspen, Colorado, last month — one of them by 3.07 seconds, the largest margin of victory in World Cup history for the women's discipline.

In the overall World Cup standings, Shiffrin dropped to 104 points behind fellow American Lindsey Vonn, who won Saturday's race.

The first run of the GS was delayed by 15 minutes due to strong winds, and shortened by 11 gates. Visibility was also a factor, with the artificial lights turned on to aid skiers.

Sara Hector of Sweden, the first starter, pulled up midway through her run with an apparent knee injury and was taken down the course on a sled.

"I hope both of them are OK," Vonn said. "Ski racing needs Mikaela and Sara. We can't afford to lose any more athletes so I really hope that they're both OK."

With Tina Maze taking this season off and defending overall winner Anna Fenninger out injured for the year, Shiffrin and Vonn are the top two overall contenders.

Shiffrin had done well in Are previously. She won her first World Cup race there three years ago by taking a night slalom, and won two other slaloms at the Swedish resort near the Arctic Circle.


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