By Paul Osborne

Lindsey Vonn may not compete again before the Olympics after re-injuring her knee at an event in France last week ©Getty ImagesDecember 29 - Reigning Olympic downhill skiing champion Lindsey Vonn may not race again before Sochi 2014 after aggravating a knee injury, her coach Alex Hoedlmoser has admitted.

The four-time World Cup overall champion,the first American woman to win the downhill event at the Olympics when she clinched the title at Vancouver 2010, was seen clutching her surgically repaired knee last week following a downhill run at an event in Val-d'Isère, France, and Hoedlmoser explained that it is now swollen again.

"She is working with the guys from [her own team] Red Bull and the medical staff to get that under control," he told the Associated Press.

"There is no decision yet if, or where she is going to race ahead of the Olympics."

Vonn was rushed to hospital in February following a crash, which left her needing surgery to reconstruct two ligaments, during the super-G event at the World Championships in Schladming.

The 29-year-old then partially tore her right anterior cruciate ligament during a training run at Colorado's Copper Mountain Resort in November, creating doubt over her readiness to race in next year's Winter Olympics in Russia.

Despite the injury, Vonn returned to the World Cup in Lake Louise, Alberta, in the first week of December and finished 40th and 11th in two downhill races before placing fifth in super-G the following day.

Lindsey Vonn was helicoptered to hospital following a crash at the World Championships in February ©Getty ImagesLindsey Vonn was helicoptered to hospital following a crash at the World Championships in February ©Getty Images

This latest setback raises further concerns about her readiness for the Games, although she has said she is confident that she will be able to compete in "one maybe two races before the Olympics" as she hopes to defend her downhill title in February.

"I'm going to play it safe and race minimal races, so I can get the confidence and the timing and the feeling of racing again," Vonn said.

"I'm really going to be safe and smart as I can."

The next World Cup speed races are due to take place in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria, on January 9 until 12.

But Hoedlmoser has said that he cannot predict whether Vonn will be ready to compete at the event.

"Lindsey prefers to work quietly on her comeback," Hoedlmoser said.

"We are in contact regularly but I am too far away to judge the situation so I leave it to her and her team now.

"She has indicated she might consider racing Cortina [on January 16 until 19] but it's too early to say that she's going to.

"Maybe she won't race at all if she feels she can do without another race in her preparation for Sochi.

"I think she's handling it well and she's determined to race in Sochi."

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