Vonn hasn’t ruled out slalom at worlds
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
VAL D’ISERE, France ” Lindsey Vonn is still hoping to ski in Saturday’s slalom race at the World Championships after slicing her thumb open on a broken champagne bottle.
After flying to Innsbruck, Austria, to have a tendon surgically repaired, Vonn returned to Val d’Isere and practiced free skiing Thursday wearing a specially designed splint.
“It was actually pretty good free skiing, but the problem was there was a lot of pressure and vibration on my finger, so right now we’re kind of struggling to come up with a solution where I have the least force on my fingers,” Vonn said.
Vonn will make a decision about competing after gate training Friday.
“At this point it looks OK, but I’m not going to say until I know for sure,” she said. “I’m not going to ski if I can’t perform my best.”
Vonn opened the championships by winning the super G, then took the downhill Monday for a sweep of the speed events. She injured herself celebrating her downhill victory and missed Thursday’s giant slalom.
Vonn also has to think about defending her overall World Cup title once the worlds conclude.
“I think for downhill, super G and GS it should be OK, but slalom is going to be the toughest event for me to be able to ski,” Vonn said. “It’s not going to be possible to ski without a lot of pain in slalom, but we’re going to try and find a solution tonight and figure out something that works.”
Vonn holds a 1,114-935 lead over Maria Riesch of Germany in the overall World Cup standings. Swedish standout Anja Paerson is third with 855 points.
The American’s next order of business will be figuring out how she can get into her tuck position for the speed events.
“After Saturday, we’re probably going to go back to Innsbruck and talk with the arm protector guy and figure out a way to make the tuck position work,” she said.
The accident occurred when Vonn couldn’t open the champagne bottle at a party arranged by her ski sponsor, Rossignol.
“The problem was the cork wouldn’t come out. I tried and a Rossignol man tried and he couldn’t get it out. Eventually it actually broke off and what he did was chop off the top of the bottle,” Vonn said.
“I had never opened a champagne bottle before. I usually just drink it…I didn’t realize it was a jagged edge and he was spraying everyone once the bottle was open and I wanted to spray everyone and it cut. All it was was an accident and unfortunately it’s not just a small cut.
“It was supposed to be a wonderful night and it turned into total chaos.”
Immediately after the accident, a U.S. Ski Team doctor applied four stitches at the team hotel.
It’s not the first time Vonn has been injured at a major event. She recalled how she crashed in downhill training at the 2006 Turin Olympics and was hospitalized before bouncing back to compete in all five of her events,
“I’ve dealt with a lot of pain in the past,” she said. “At the (Turin) Olympics I could hardly walk but I was skiing. I’m going to do all I can to ski again. It’s not going to slow me down.
“The doctor said that the normal procedure for something like this is to not do anything for three months, but obviously I’m not going to stop skiing. That’s really not an option for me. But the risk of it tearing again is pretty high.”
The injury doesn’t only affect Vonn’s skiing.
“I have a really hard time putting my clothes on now,” she said, adding that her physiotherapist and husband Thomas have been helping her. “Putting on my ski gear took 45 minutes, whereas normally it takes five minutes. Getting the hang of using one hand is going to be tough.”
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