Injury puts Lindsey Vonn's Olympic medal hopes in jeopardy
VANCOUVER, Canada--Lindsey Vonn, the world's top female Alpine skier and a medal contender in five events at the soon-to-begin Vancouver Games, said Wednesday, "I honestly have no idea" whether a right shin bruise suffered in a training run last week will allow her to compete at the Olympics.
Vonn's status for Sunday's first women's event, the super combined, and the remainder of her events could be determined at a Thursday morning downhill training run in Whistler.
Asked whether she might not be able to race, Vonn said, "Yeah, that's a possibility."
Vonn said she suffered the "excruciatingly painful" injury last Tuesday in Austria during slalom training shortly after she won her ninth World Cup race this season, the super-G, in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
She said she kept the injury a secret until Wednesday.
"I didn't want to alarm anyone," Vonn said. She said she suffered muscle damage around the shin but refused an X-ray to determined if there was a hairline fracture.
She was unable to walk for two days after the injury, she said, and has not been able to ski. She said the injury is in the worst possible spot, at the pressure point where the top of her ski boot meets the leg.
Vonn said she has been trying all kinds of therapy, including a peculiar one.
"I wrap my leg in cheese and it takes the swelling down," Vonn said.
Vonn must start at least one of the three training runs to be eligible for Sunday's super combined.
"All I can hope for is that I'm able to push through it," she said of the injury.
Vonn has won two World Cup overall titles and an American-best 31 races on the circuit but has been plagued by injuries in Olympic years.
A training run crash before the downhill at the 2006 Turin Games likely cost her a medal chance. An injury to her left arm in late December has hampered her hopes of winning Olympic medals in giant slalom and slalom.
Vonn is the pre-Olympic favorite in the downhill and super-G.
-- Chris Dufresne
Photo: Lindsey Vonn. Credit: John David Mercer / US Presswire