ALTA BADIA, Italy — Lindsey Vonn is heading back to the United States for an unexpected break in the middle of the World Cup ski season and is unlikely to return to Europe until January.
After a weekend of disappointing results at a World Cup meet in France, the four-time overall champion said in a statement on her Facebook page Monday that she needs to get her full strength back before returning to the slopes after New Year's.
Vonn stayed two nights in a hospital in Vail, Colo., in November after suffering from severe intestinal pain.
"After talking with my family and consulting with my coaches and trainers, I have decided to take a break from the World Cup circuit," Vonn said. "Since my intestinal infection last month, I have been struggling with my energy and strength. I believe that some time off the mountain will help me regain the physical strength that I require to compete at the level that I demand from myself."
Earlier Monday, U.S. women's head coach Alex Hoedlmoser told The Associated Press on Monday that the timing of Vonn's return "depends on how she's feeling and exactly what her condition is."
"She's going home for now," Hoedlmoser said. "We'll have to see when she's ready. It's a little bit unknown, but the plan is to get her back strong. ... With the way the schedule has been and all the travel she just hasn't had a chance to get back to strength. We want her back at full strength."
Hoedlmoser said Vonn will miss this week's slalom and giant slalom races in Are, Sweden. The following races on the schedule are also technical races in Semmering, Austria, Dec. 28-29.