Vonn passes a slalom test
WHISTLER, British Columbia - Lindsey Vonn went through a rigorous slalom training session yesterday, passing the toughest test yet for her bruised right shin.
As a result, her husband Thomas Vonn said the two-time overall World Cup champion is no longer worrying about whether she will be able to compete at the Games, 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 Austria.
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.
After yesterday’s practice, Vonn told SI.com: “I feel like I’m getting into a more aggressive mind-set. That’s what I need. I need to be in the start house and feel confident that I can trust my body and race aggressively. I’m starting to get that feeling back.’’
The first women’s Alpine race was supposed to be a super combined yesterday, 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 a split women’s downhill training run for today, 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.
Thomas Vonn said all of the forced rest can be credited with helping his wife’s shin feel “better and better every day,’’ prompting yesterday’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 1/2 hours.
“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, Vonn was widely considered a contender for perhaps three or four medals - and an overwhelming favorite for golds in the downhill and super-G.
But when she arrived in Vancouver Wednesday, Vonn sounded glum as she wondered aloud whether her shin would even allow her to ski.