PARIS - World Cup leader Lindsey Vonn announced on Wednesday that her season is over due to a knee injury sustained in a fall last weekend. "Today I am making the difficult decision to end my season and leave the World Cup circuit due to an injury I suffered last Saturday," she wrote on her Facebook page.

"Because I am currently leading the Overall World Cup standings, this is one of the toughest decisions of my career." The 31-year-old American speed queen sustained a hairline facture to her left knee when she fell while competing in a World Cup super-G in Andorra.

She did compete at the same venue the following day in a super-combined, but further medical tests on the knee this week showed that the injury was worse than at first thought. "Those images showed that there was not just 1 hairline fracture, but in fact 3. And the fractures are not hairline, but instead they are significant enough that they are not sufficiently stable to permit me to safely continue skiing," Vonn said on Facbook.

"Further damage to any of the fragments could result in a serious surgery that would risk my future in ski racing. With the World Championships in St. Moritz next year and the Winter Olympics in South Korea the following year, I cannot take that risk."Vonn's lead in the overall World Cup standings over closest rival Lara Gut is just 28 points with several races still to come, meaning that the Swiss skier, barring injury, looks sure to overtake the American in the race for the Crystal Globe.

"I am very proud of what I have been able to accomplish this year: 9 World Cup victories, breaking the World Cup downhill win record, breaking the World Cup Super G podium record, and winning the most World Cup discipline titles--20--of any skier, male or female," she said. "While I am confident that I'm making the right decision, it still doesn't make this decision any easier."