Lindsey Vonn is uncertain whether she can make her Olympic dreams come true in Vancouver.
The 25-year-old alpine skiier has been suffering from a serious injury that’s kept her sidelined for at least a week, she told Matt Lauer on Wednesday morning (Feb. 10) in and interview on NBC News’ “Today.”
Vonn is suffering from a bruise, but not any simple black-and-blue bruise one would get banging a knee on the coffee table.
“It’s essentially a deep muscle bruise so I have a contusion, so the muscle is bleeding and it’s really deep inside the muscle,” she said. “I talked to my doctor today and he said that it could take a couple of weeks before it’s completely healed.”
Vonn was injured in Austrian training camp in early February, right after her last World Cup race.
“The first training run that I had, I crashed on the slalom and I hurt my shin, my right shin,” she explained. “I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t walk the first day. We were planning on leaving to go home the next day and so we changed all of our plans. We stayed over in Europe an extra four days to do therapy with the Red Bull team.I was freaking out. I thought that a few days before the Olympics, you know, everything is coming crashing down.”
Although Vonn is able to walk normally without pain, wearing and moving in ski boots is a different story.
“When I tried my boot on, I was just standing in the hotel room barely flexing forward and it was excruciatingly painful,” said Vonn. “I’ve got to try to ski downhill at 75, 80 miles an hour with a lot of forces pushed up against my shin and I don’t honestly know if I’ll be able to do it.
“I’ve got to wait until the first training run on Thursday. I’m going to go up there, I’m going to put my skis on and see how it feels. I could not be doing the first training run. I don’t know. I have to play it by ear and see how it feels and take it day to day and just keep doing therapy and hope it gets better.”
The first of Vonn’s five events is scheduled for Saturday, and she’s considering dropping one or more of them if that will give her time to respond to physical therapy.
She’s no stranger to adversity on the slopes. At the 2006 Winter Olympics in Italy, Vonn crashed while training for the downhill race and tumbled down at 20-25 mph and had to be hospitalized. Bruised and battered, she competed the next day, finishing in eighth place but eventually earning the U.S. Olympic Spirit Award for her tenacity.
“I at least want people to know what’s going on and if I don’t perform well, why that is,” she said, “but I can guarantee you that I’m going to do everything I can to be as ready as I can with this injury and still try to ski well. It’s going to be really hard and I just have to try to stay positive and do the best I can.”
We hope’ll she heal quickly and get back to doing what she loves most.
The 2010 Winter Olympics will kick off on Friday, Feb. 12 on NBC.