USA's two-time FIS World Champion Lindsey Vonn hopes to start her 2010 Olympics campaign with Thursday's opening of downhill training, but a shin injury she suffered a week ago while training in Austria is still causing the two-time World Cup Champion strong pain.
"Today was definitely out of the ordinary," said Vonn, who was welcomed by fanfare and cameras at Vancouver. "There were a lot of people there and I wasn't really expecting it. It was really cool. Coming here today and seeing the reception was a wakeup call to the reality that people are watching and expecting me to win. All I can say is that I'm prepared and I hope things go well," she also told the media during her opening press conference in the Main Press Room at Vancouver.
But Vonn's arrival was not without some apprehension. While training slalom a week ago, just two days after locking up the World Cup Super G title with a ninth season victory in St. Moritz, Switzerland, she crashed on her first run of slalom training in Kaprun. The 25-year-old suffered a contusion to the muscles in her right shin. She's been staying out of her ski boots since then to help the healing.
"I for sure will be racing, I'm going to push through it," Vonn told Matt Lauer of NBC's TODAY Show earlier this week. "This winter I've already had an arm injury, but this is a part of my leg. It feels more like the 2006 Torino Olympics. I've fought through injuries before - I'm no stranger to that. But it's going to be really hard. I just have to try to stay positive and do the best I can."
Women's alpine medal competition opens on Sunday, on Valentine's Day with a Super-combined, one of Lindsey's best disciplines after downhill and Super-G. This Thursday, however, marks the first of three official downhill training runs prior to the event.
"I have to wait until the first training run on Thursday and go up there, put my skis on and see how it feels," also said Vonn. "I'm thinking about how I can manage it so I can race well in all my disciplines. I don't know if that means sitting out a training run to get some extra rest. I'll have to keep doing therapy and play it by ear. All I can say is that I will do my best."
Thursday's training run is set for 9:30 a.m. local time (PCT) at Whistler Creekside 18.30 MET in Europe. The last time on the Whistler Creekside course in February, 2008, the skier from Vail finished second to wrap-up her first of two FIS World Cup downhill titles.