With great pain comes great opportunity for redemption.
For ski racer Lindsey Vonn, that means her newest opportunity will be more massive than the mountains she usually races down.
The 28-year-old Vonn had to be airlifted to a hospital in Austria on Tuesday after suffering a major crash during her Super-G run at the Alpine World Championships.
According to U.S. Ski Team medical director Kyle Wilkens (via an official U.S team statement, courtesy of NBC Sports), she tore both her ACL and MCL in her right knee and suffered a lateral tibial plateau fracture in what will be remembered as one of the most frightening, ugly crashes of the year.
Unsurprisingly, Vonn is expected to be sidelined for the rest of the season (via Sports Illustrated's Nick Zaccardi):
Nick Zaccardi @nzaccardi
USSA: Vonn torn ACL and MCL in right knee, lateral tibial plateau fracture. Out rest of season, expected to return for the 2013-14 season.2/5/2013, 6:08:37 PM
It's clearly far too early to know if the talented skier will be able to return in time for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, but if she is able to do just that, she has the opportunity to turn the best story of the Games.
The sports world, especially during the pride-filled event that is the Olympics, loves the comeback story. It loves an athlete with a good narrative and it loves someone who overcomes the unfavorable odds.
Vonn has the chance to be all of those things.
If she manages to return from this incredibly gruesome leg injury in less than a year to beat some of the world's best athletes at the Olympics, it would be Adrian Peterson-like. I'm not a future-teller, so I can't say it would be No. 1, but a comeback like that would easily go down as one of the most inspirational and uplifting stories of 2014.
Vonn certainly has the talent to make it happen. She took home a gold in Downhill and bronze in Super-G at the 2010 Olympics, and has racked up five more medals at various World Championships.
She's easily one of the best racers in the world, and if she can somehow return from this injury in top shape, then it will be a memorable story.
This entire premise is undoubtedly predicated on a big "if," but knowing Vonn's work ethic and determination, she is certainly capable.
While this is an injury no one wanted to see, it's an injury that gives hope for a magical, chill-inducing, tear-jerking, Disney-movie-making sports story.