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 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."
Depending on how many races Vonn misses, her chances of defending the overall title might be affected. Vonn is fourth in the standings. Tina Maze leads with 799 points, followed by Maria Hoefl-Riesch at 468, Kathrin Zettel at 440 and Vonn at 414.
Men oppose U.S. Open switch
The men's tennis tour said it opposes a switch of the U.S. Open final to a Monday. The United States Tennis Association, which runs the annual Grand Slam event at the National Tennis Center in New York, last week announced it was moving the women's final to a Sunday and the men's final to a Monday from 2013. The aim is to provide a rest day between the semifinals and finals.
Although the ATP World Tour welcomed the rest day, it "made clear to the U.S. Open that we do not support a Monday final."
"We strongly believe the U.S. Open should keep a similar schedule to the other Grand Slams, with the men's semifinals completed by Friday and the final on Sunday," the ATP said. "It is unfortunate the U.S. Open response did not reflect our views on this issue and the ATP and its players will continue to pursue this matter in its discussions with the USTA."
AROUND THE HORN
Golf: The Golf Channel will televise the NCAA Division I championships starting in 2014.
College football: Former California running game coordinator Ron Gould was hired as the new head coach at California-Davis. ... New North Carolina State coach Dave Doeren hired Wisconsin assistant Eddie Faulkner to coach tight ends and fullbacks, and also serve as special teams coordinator. ... The NCAA granted Cincinnati senior quarterback Brendon Kay an extra season of eligibility. ... Western Michigan hired 32-year-old Tampa Bay Buccaneers assistant P.J. Fleck, making him the youngest head coach in the Bowl Subdivision. ... Notre Dame nose guard Louis Nix III and offensive tackle Zack Martin will return to school next year and skip the NFL draft. ..... West Virginia's record-breaking receiver Stedman Bailey is forgoing his final season to enter the NFL draft.
UMD guard top Div. II lineman
Minnesota Duluth guard Garth Heikkinen was named the 2012 recipient of the Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year of Award. The Upshaw Award has been presented annually since 2004 to the top NCAA Division II junior or senior lineman in the nation.
"I'm honored and humbled to be chosen for the Gene Upshaw Award", said Heikkinen, a native of Duluth and a 2008 graduate of Duluth Central High School. "I can't begin to express how thankful I am for my teammates, coaches, and everyone else who has helped me get to where I am today. This award never would have come my way without them. "
Heikkinen, who has been selected to four different All-America teams this fall -- Associated Press Little All-American (first team), American Football Coaches Association (first team), Daktronics (first team) and Beyond Sports College Network (second team), started in a Bulldogs-record 54 consecutive games over the past four seasons.