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Lindsey Vonn skis well, finishes in pain

For the first time since she arrived in Vancouver six days earlier, Lindsey Vonn skied official training runs in preparation for what was expected to be a stellar Olympics. Her Monday started out just perfectly when she posted the fastest time over the top portion of the course that will be used in Wednesday's downhill, the first women's event of the competition.

But in the afternoon, worries that Vonn hoped to dismiss were back again. Her deeply bruised shin, which at one point threatened her entire Olympic program, flared up again. Her 20th-place finish -- and the pain that accompanied it -- had Vonn clearly concerned afterward.

"It went okay," she said as she walked off the hill. "It was really tough. It was really, really bumpy and really painful the whole way down, and especially in the second run -- that last jump hurt."

The injury, suffered while training for slalom on Feb. 2 in Austria, had gotten progressively better since Vonn arrived in Canada last week. She was encouraged by an informal slalom training session on Sunday -- when she took four hard runs -- and was starting to believe the bruise might not compromise her performance. She woke up Monday morning a bit sore, but ready to ski. Her condition clearly was worse after the two runs.

"It was a little bit sore, but not terrible," Vonn said. "But it's already ... feeling really bad right now. I'm a little nervous as to what it's going to be like. I got to go do therapy and hope for the best. I really don't know how it's going to respond after a day like today."

The training runs for the downhill were the first the women have been able to complete. American Julia Mancuso, the 2006 gold medalist in giant slalom, was second to Vonn in the morning run. Sweden veteran Anja Paerson was fastest over the bottom portion of the course in the afternoon, though that section took less than 19 seconds to cover. American Stacey Cook, who was lifted off the mountain by helicopter after a training crash last week, was able to participate, placing 14th in both sessions.

In order to stage an Olympic race, skiers must have one full training run for the entire field. With that accomplished, the women's downhill can be held Wednesday even if projected bad weather Tuesday wipes out the final training session.

"I'm hoping that the weather cooperates with me and we don't have a training run tomorrow," Vonn said.

The women are now scheduled to race Wednesday (downhill), Thursday (super combined) and Saturday (super-G) before Vonn would have three scheduled days off from racing before the Feb. 24 giant slalom, which is her worst discipline. Time off, it seems, is was helps her the most, and she admitted her confidence level went back a bit Monday.

"I mean, it's not that high," Vonn said. "But honestly, I had a fast time today which I was really surprised by. That definitely helps me out a little bit."

By Barry Svrluga  |  February 15, 2010; 5:53 PM ET
Categories:  Lindsey Vonn , Skiing , Vancouver 2010  
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Next: Live Olympics chat: Day 4


Why can't American athletes just shut up about their injuries/personal dramas/imbroglios and perform? I know a lot of it is due to our flaccid media, but really, aren't world-class athletes supposed to show a little character?

Posted by: gilboa | February 15, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

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