Vonn planning to race downhill 

Lindsey Vonn is set to compete in Wednesday's Olympic downhill — "There's no question," her husband said — even though her bruised right shin had a setback in training.

"She'll for sure be racing tomorrow," Thomas Vonn said Tuesday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

He said his wife planned to stay off the slopes completely Tuesday to rest her injured leg, which was "throbbing" a day after she was the fastest woman in the first part of Monday's split training session.

"It was definitely sore today, much more sore than it had been in a couple days," Thomas Vonn said. "The full-length downhill run yesterday definitely took its toll on her shin."

That's why Lindsey Vonn probably wouldn't have taken part in the downhill training run that was scheduled for Tuesday but was called off because of an overnight snowstorm.

Still, there was good news. Even though she was bothered by the shin, Monday's practice proved that "she knows her leg will hold up at those speeds, and that she can be fast even if it's painful," said Thomas Vonn, who serves as a coach and adviser to his wife.

Lindsey Vonn was hurt 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 — and then sat out along with everyone else while wet and warm weather canceled nearly every training session at the Winter Games.

She still plans to ski all five Alpine races, and is considered a contender for perhaps three or four medals, including the favorite for gold in the downhill, her best event. She has won five of six World Cup downhills this season.

"She certainly feels that she has a chance to win the downhill," Thomas Vonn said. "She feels like, although it's going to be extremely painful in the run that she can still fight through it and put down some of her best skiing."

In Monday's training, Lindsey Vonn finished the more demanding portion of the day's two runs in 1 minute, 30.75 seconds — 0.39 seconds faster than the next-fastest skier, U.S. teammate Julia Mancuso. Later, skiing the much shorter bottom section, Vonn finished in 18.52 seconds, good for 20th and 0.73 seconds behind Sweden's Anja Paerson.

"It was jarring," Vonn said afterward. "It was a fight just to make it down the whole way."

Her husband called it the bumpiest downhill course she's ever skied. It's a result of the way the weather has been, because all the rain that's been falling, mixed with temperatures in the 40s, has left the course, as Thomas Vonn put it, "kind of sloppy."

"It seems smooth, but when you go 60 or 70 or 80 mph across it, it would be like driving on a dirt road or something with potholes in it and wondering why the car is shaking. All those tiny ripples become very magnified at that speed," he said. "The course crews are doing their best, but you can't really fight Mother Nature."

Lindsey Vonn woke up Tuesday feeling the effects of all that bouncy terrain, which makes her boot bang against that swollen shin of hers. So no skiing for one day. Instead, the plan called for more treatment, some working out and maybe watching a movie.

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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