Vonn tests shin in slalom practice session
Lindsey Vonn went through a rigorous slalom training session
Sunday, passing the toughest test yet for her bruised right shin.
As a result, her husband said in a telephone interview, the
two-time overall World Cup champion is no longer worrying about
whether she will be able to compete at the Vancouver Olympics, but
rather thinking about how best to prepare for pursuing medals.
“She definitely wants to get out there and get going,” said
Thomas Vonn, who serves as a coach and chief adviser to his wife.
“Her focus has definitely changed from, ‘Am I going to race?’ to
‘I’m definitely racing, and I need to get the rust off and try to
get the speed back.”‘
Lindsey Vonn had not done any full-fledged training on a hill
since hurting herself Feb. 2, when she tumbled and slammed the top
of her right boot against her leg during pre-Olympic practice in
She stayed off skis for more than a week – for a few days, it
was tough even to walk – then has been forced to wait along with
everyone else while wet and warm weather canceled one official
training session after another at Whistler.
The first women’s Alpine race at the Winter Games originally
was supposed to be a super-combined Sunday, but that event was
pushed back to Thursday because of the delays. Now the women aren’t
slated to race until Wednesday’s downhill, Vonn’s best event. She
has won five of six World Cup downhills this season.
Organizers have scheduled an unusual, split women’s downhill
training run for Monday, bookending it around the men’s downhill
medal race. Women will ski the top part of their course in the
morning, before the men race, then cover the bottom portion
afterward – weather permitting, of course.
Thomas Vonn said all of the forced rest can be credited with
helping his wife’s shin feel “better and better every day,”
prompting Sunday’s trip to the mountain. She set out first for a
casual free ski and, when that went well, decided to do more
spirited training. All told, they were on the slopes for about 2
“By the end, she could go full-on normal slalom, and slalom
would be the toughest for her to do on that shin, because there’s
so much movement, and you’re hitting the gates,” he said.
Before her injury became known, Vonn was widely considered a
contender for perhaps three or four medals – and an overwhelming
favorite for golds in the downhill and super-G – and was pegged to
become the breakout star of these Olympics, the focus of much of
But when she arrived in Vancouver on Wednesday, Vonn sounded
glum as she wondered aloud whether her shin would even allow her to
Sunday’s official downhill practice was called off because of
too much rain overnight. That followed washouts of practices slated
for Friday and Saturday, while Thursday’s training run was stopped
because of thick fog after only two racers left the starting gate.
“She absolutely needed those days off. Without those delays,
it would have been absolutely questionable whether she could
(compete),” Thomas Vonn said. “Now we need to get her back up to
speed. She hasn’t been able to really ski slalom in over three
weeks. That’s a long time when you’re going into the Olympic
He said his wife is still taking painkillers to dull the
aching in her leg.
“It’s not like it’s all gone. The injury hasn’t disappeared,”
he said. “She still has pain when she’s skiing.”