- American skier Lindsey Vonn is to take a break from World Cup circuit
- Vonn says break will help regain "physical strength"
- American Iooking forward to "getting back on the mountain in the New Year"
- Alpine Director of the U.S. Ski Team Patrick Riml supports Vonn decision
Skier Lindsey Vonn is to take a sabbatical from World Cup competition, but the American insists the break has nothing to do with her recent admission she suffers from depression.
Last month the finest female skier of her generation had to spend a couple of days in hospital due to an intestinal infection that she said had affected her "energy and strength".
"After talking with my family and consulting with my coaches and trainers, I've decided to take a break from the World Cup circuit," said Vonn on her Facebook page.
"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. I look forward to getting back on the mountain in the New Year."
Alpine Director of the U.S. Ski Team Patrick Riml added: "We support Lindsey in the decision so that she can return to the World Cup and compete in the World Championships at full strength."
This season Vonn has won two downhills and two super-Gs, with her St. Moritz super-G victory in Switzerland delivering a 57th career World Cup triumph to put her within five victories of record-holder Annemarie Moser-Proell on the all-time list.
But the American was below her best in the weekend races at Val d'Isere when her bid for a fifth-straight win ended in a crash.
"I want to be emphatic that this has nothing to do with my recent interview with People Magazine," added the 28-year-old Vonn on Facebook, referring to her admission that she has suffered from depression and currently takes an anti-depressant to manage the condition.
"I had completed that interview weeks before I was in the hospital with the intestinal infection."
In the magazine interview, Vonn revealed that she had hit a low point four years ago.
"I couldn't get out of bed anymore. I felt hopeless, empty, like a zombie," said Vonn, who added: "All the parts of my life are finally in sync. I accept who I am, and I'm moving forward."
Last week Vonn told CNN in an exclusive interview that was pondering taking legal action in her bid to race against the men after the International Ski Federation (FIS) blocked her bid to challenge the sport's top male stars at a recent meeting in Canada.
"I don't want to make a big stink out of it but I feel like their response that I can't race with the men simply because I'm a woman was definitely gender-biased so I'm going to do what I can and hopefully make something work.
"So right now I'm looking into options -- my father is an attorney so I'm just seeing if there's any options, legally, that I can take."