VANCOUVER — Tabbed as the centerpiece of the American Olympic effort, Lindsey Vonn is worried a badly bruised right shin will keep her out of the Olympics, a startling announcement even to her teammates so close to an event shaping up as a showcase for the U.S. skiing star.
Vonn revealed Wednesday that she was injured in a slalom training run Feb. 2 during pre-Olympic practice in Austria.
"I'm sitting here … questioning whether, you know, I'll be even able to ski," said Vonn, 25. "I have to play it by ear."
Healthy, the twice-World Cup overall champion was considered a likely medalist in four of the five Alpine events with an outside chance to win four golds. She has been seen as the favorite to win gold medals in the speed events: downhill and super-G.
She hasn't skied since the injury and said it has been painful to put on ski boots to test the leg. Vonn said the bruising covers about 6 inches of her lower leg, starting where the top of a boot rests against her body. She refused X-rays because she didn't want to know if a bone was broken.
"It's probably the worst place that you can have an injury, because you're constantly pushing against your boot, and there's no way around it," Vonn said.
She described her mind-set as "very emotional, very scared. Not the positive way you want to be starting the Olympics."
Vonn has been using laser treatment and applying a soft Austrian curd cheese to her lower leg to reduce swelling.
The first women's Alpine race is the super-combined on Sunday. Vonn will know a lot more after a training run at Whistler Mountain. The first official training run for women is today.
"I'm hoping that when I get on skis, things will be okay," she said. "No way am I giving myself an excuse if I don't do well.''
Among her previous injuries, at the 2006 Turin Olympics she took a harrowing spill in downhill training and bruised her back. Less than 48 hours later, Vonn — then Lindsey Kildow, before she got married — finished eighth in the downhill.
"I'm a lot less sure about this injury," Vonn said. "I've fought through injuries in the past. … But it's going to be really hard. I have to stay positive and do the best I can. That's all I can do."
notable: Fog forced cancellation of the first men's downhill training run Wednesday after 42 of 87 scheduled racers completed the Olympic course. Didier Cuche of Switzerland posted the fastest time, 1 minute, 53.22 seconds. Rules require at least one training session be held before Saturday's race. … Casey Puckett said he will race in the skicross event Feb. 21 despite continuing problems with a dislocated shoulder. … The IOC approved Australia's two-woman bobsled team of Astrid Loch-Wilkinson and Cecilia McIntosh to compete. The sport's governing body had failed to award a place to any team from the Oceania region.