Lindsey Vonn injured, doubtful for first event
The first major news of the Olympics comes even before the Olympics begin. Lindsey Vonn, the alpine skier who is expected to be the featured performer on the American team and perhaps the star of the Games, revealed Wednesday morning that she has an badly bruised shin that has affected her preparation for Vancouver and could prevent her participation in any of the five disciplines in which she is scheduled to compete.
"When I tried my boot on, I was just standing in the hotel room barely flexing forward and it was excruciatingly painful," Vonn said on NBC's "Today Show." "And I've got to try to ski downhill at 75-80 miles per hour with a lot of forces pushed up against my shin, and I don't honestly know if I'll be able to do it."
Vonn, 25, had been considered a medal contender in each of the five events, and she is a strong favorite in both the downill and the super-G. The first women's alpine event is Sunday, the combined, which adds the times from a downhill run and a slalom run.
Right now, Vonn's participation in that event appears doubtful. She said her doctor told her it "could take a couple weeks before it's completely healed."
"I honestly couldn't tell you," she said about her chances. "I feel okay now. But any time I'm in my boot, it's painful. I don't know. I've got to wait until the first training run on Thursday. I'm going to go up there. I'm going to put my skis on and see how it feels. I could not be doing the first training run. I don't know. I have to play it by ear and see how it fels and take it day by day and just keep doing therapy and hope it gets better."
Vonn's 2006 Olympics were marred by a spectacular crash in a training run for the downhill, one that left her with a badly bruised back and pelvis. She competed less than 48 hours after the accident, but had no true chance of being effective for the rest of the Games. She finished eighth in the downhill and did not medal, but showed she can deal with tremendous amounts of pain.
Asked how the injury to her right shin - a deep bruise suffered in training a week ago - she said: "I'm a lot less sure about this injury than I have been in the past."
Since the last Olympics, Vonn has twice won the prestigious World Cup overall championship, and she came to Vancouver with more hype than any American athlete. She has nine World Cup wins this season and again leads the overall standings. Now, her outlook in Vancouver has completely shifted.
"I won the last World Cup race," she said. "I felt perfectly healthy. I was happy. I was coming in with confidence. And now I have another injury. I've fought through injuries before. I'm not stranger to that. But it's going to be really hard. I just have to try to stay positive and do the best I can because that's all I can do."
We'll have more on this throughout the day.
February 10, 2010; 9:06 AM ET
Categories: Lindsey Vonn , Skiing
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