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Vonn's injury hurts NBC, too

Many expected Lindsey Vonn to be the American star of the Vancouver Games, columnist Tracee Hamilton writes today. But the injury Vonn revealed Wednesday may change that -- as well as the television ratings potential for NBC.

NBC, which has already self-reported an expected $200 million loss on these Games, was banking on Vonn's attempt to win five medals as a sort of Phelpsian quest. (It's no accident that she first revealed her injury to Matt Lauer on the "Today" show.) However, Michael Phelps was never shy about declaring his intention of winning a record eight gold medals in Beijing. Vonn never made any such promises, and she's not as universally strong across all five events as Phelps was in his eight.

What happens now? Maybe a standout from a lesser-known sport will steal the spotlight, Hamilton says.

For the Nordic sports, the timing is perfect. This country has never been stronger in these disciplines than it is in February 2010. An American is among the top biathletes in the world (that's cross-country skiing and shooting, by the way). The U.S. contingent is a strong medal favorite in Nordic combined (that's cross-country skiing and ski jumping). And the cross-country team is the best that we've ever sent to the Olympics.
All that's missing is the one thing America wants more than anything: a medal. Preferably gold, but silver or bronze would work, too.

By Jon DeNunzio  |  February 11, 2010; 11:15 AM ET
Categories:  Lindsey Vonn , Skiing , Television  
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