Skier Lindsey Vonn has decided to let discretion be the better part of valor.
Vonn said today on her Facebook page she will skip the final three events at the World Championships to get over the lingering effects of a Feb. 2 concussion.
In the past two days, Vonn has faced questions from the European media over whether her injury was real since she still was skiing -- and winning silver in Sunday's downhill. Even Maria Riesch, Vonn's leading rival and longtime friend, chimed in on the subject in general terms.
"It's kind of hard to talk about not feeling well when you're winning medals," Riesch said after winning two world bronze medals while skiing with the flu.
Then there were questions from the U.S. media over whether she were taking too big a risk by racing with a head injury. She answered several Sunday, as noted in my previous blog entry, which you can read by clicking here.
The upshot is Vonn is taking time to rest. She said she has been unable to focus for an entire race, a dangerous situation for someone traveling 70 miles per hour on a couple sticks.
"My hope is that I will be healthy and fresh when the World Cup tour resumes at the end of the month in Are, Sweden,'' she said in the Facebook entry.
The last three races at worlds include Vonn's weakest individual events, slalom and giant slalom, plus the insignificant team event. Vonn had hoped most to race the giant slalom even though, ironically, it was a crash in giant slalom training that had led to the concussion.
For video of that crash, click here.
It was just one of several racing or training accidents for Vonn this season. Among them: a crash in downhill training in late January that led to a sprained the medial collateral ligament of her left knee; and a spectacular near wipeout with no consequences other than some lost time at a Lake Louise race in December.
"I have had an unusual amount of crashes or near crashes this year, (but) most of the injuries so far have been really manageable,'' Vonn said Sunday. "This head injury seems to be one of the toughest I've faced because it's not about fighting through it.''
Yet she kept trying, which seemed foolhardy for a skier with nothing left to prove, given the danger another bump on the head could cause someone still recovering from a concussion, even if she knew a CT scan had shown no major injuries.
Vonn said Sunday that after the ski team's medical staff cleared her to race, the decision remained hers, and her competitive stubbornness took over.
That's another way of saying she is hard-headed. Something knocked sense into her over the past 24 hours.
You may have to be a little crazy to be a ski racer, but there are limits.
-- Philip Hersh
Photo: Lindsey Vonn crashes into the netting in the first run of the giant slalom at the 2010 Olympics. She broke the little finger of her right hand. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times