At the 2009 worlds in Val d'Isere, France, she sliced her thumb open on a champagne bottle after sweeping gold in the downhill and super-G, forcing her out of the giant slalom. At the 2007 worlds in Are, Sweden, Vonn injured her knee in training and missed her final two events.
And at the 2006 Turin Olympics, she had a horrific crash in downhill training and went directly from her hospital room to the mountain to compete in four of her five events.
Having regained her form in recent weeks, Vonn trailed eventual race winner Tina Maze of Slovenia by just 0.12 seconds at an intermediate interval shortly before Tuesday's crash.
The conditions varied from racer to racer.
Former overall winner Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany started immediately after Vonn and skied off course.
"It's not a very difficult course but in some parts you couldn't see anything," said Fabienne Suter of Switzerland, who finished fifth.
However, Vonn teammate Julia Mancuso thrived in the difficult conditions and won the bronze medal.
"It's the same for everybody," U.S. speed coach Chip White said. "Everyone had to wait for a long time and that's always difficult. And the holds were every 15 minutes so it really doesn't give you a chance to go and do something else. You're always kind of on edge at the ready. It's a difficult situation but everybody had the same difficult situation."