News

Lindsey Vonn reveals serious injury to shin

Lindsey Vonn’s quest for five Alpine skiing medals may be in serious jeopardy because of a serious shin injury suffered a week ago in training, the skier revealed Tuesday.

Vonn has had fluid drained from the deep bruise, which she has been told will take “a couple of weeks” to completely heal.

“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,” the World Cup champion told TODAY’s Matt Lauer after arriving in Vancouver Tuesday.

‘Excruciatingly painful’“When I tried my boot on, I was just standing there in the hotel room barely flexing forward, and it was excruciatingly painful. And I’ve got to try to ski downhill at 75, 80 miles an hour with a lot of forces pushed up against my shin,” Vonn said. “I don’t know honestly if I’ll be able to do it.”

The injury could be a crushing blow to the 25-year-old Vonn, who was the best female skier in the world in both 2008 and 2009. Considered the best American female skier ever, she seemed a lock for multiple gold medals and a threat to win all five of her events.

Until the injury, Vonn had been in top form and was coming off a win in her final race before the Olympics.

“I won the last World Cup race. I felt perfectly healthy, I was happy, I was coming in with confidence, and now I have another injury,” she told Lauer. “I fought through injuries before and I’m no stranger to that, but it’s going be really hard. I just have to try to stay positive and do the best I can, because that’s all I can do.”

Lauer observed that Vonn comes to the Vancouver Games carrying a lot of pressure. “This has to multiply that pressure,” he said.

Lindsay Vonn

“Definitely,” she said. “That’s why I wanted to tell you about it ... I at least want people to know what’s going on, and if I don’t perform well, why that is. 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.”

Vonn had won her last race, a super-G at St. Moritz on Jan. 31, and had already won nine races in the season. Among them are five downhills, three super-Gs and one super combined.

Playing it by earThe first training run at Whistler Mountain for the first women’s event, the super combined, is Thursday and the race is Sunday. The women’s downhill, the premier alpine skiing event, is Wednesday, Feb. 17 with the super-G on Saturday, Feb. 20. The giant slalom is Feb. 24 and the final event, the slalom, is Feb. 26.

Four years ago in Torino, Vonn’s medal hopes were dashed when she suffered a horrific crash in a training run for the downhill. She was evacuated by helicopter to a hospital, where she was diagnosed with a hip injury. Despite the damage and the pain, she entered the race two days later, finishing eighth.

  • Slideshow Photos

    Agence Zoom / Getty Images Europe

    Image: Lindsey Vonn, Thomas Vonn

    Racing hearts

    From Lindsey and Thomas Vonn to Kristi Yamaguchi and Bret Hedican, take a look at current and former Winter Olympians who carry torches for each other.

  • Racing hearts

    of

    You, me and skis -

    Take a look at current and former winter Olympians who carry torches for each other.

    American freestyle mogul skier Hannah Hardaway and her husband, aerial skier Brian Currutt, both competed in the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • World Premiere of Disney-Pixar's Wall-E - Arrivals

    Racing hearts

    of

    Seeds of love -

    American figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi and ice hockey player Bret Hedican first crossed paths when they both competed in the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France – but they didn’t fall for each other until years later. They became reacquainted n 1995, while Hedican was playing for the Vancouver Canucks, and this time, they stayed friends. The couple began dating and married in 2000.

    Hedican was on the U.S. ice hockey team in the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy, this time with his wife by his side.

    “It was fun to support him as he went for an Olympic dream,” Olympic gold-medal winner Yamaguchi toldAOSFU98AQEWTASKFDNA0ADGAG2#@$A. The couple have two children.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Crown Royal & Playboy Presents Crown Royal Playboy Club On Derby Eve

    Racing hearts

    of

    Thin ice -

    Sexy speed skaters Apolo Ohno and Allison Baver began dating in 2006. Ohno is a five-time Olympic medalist and will be competing in the Vancouver Games. Baver will also be competing in Vancouver, for her third Olympic run.

    The couple broke up in 2007, shortly before Ohno made his debut on the fourth season of “Dancing with the Stars,” which he and partner Julianne Hough would go on to win.

    In recent interviews, Ohno has said that he is just too busy for a relationship.

    “I can’t dedicate myself to one person,” he told the Seattle Times in January 2010. “My love is my sport right now.”

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Evan Lysacek, Nastia Liukin

    Racing hearts

    of

    Summer love -

    U.S. figure skater Evan Lysacek shares his 2010 Olympic gold medal with his girlfriend, U.S. gymnast Nastia Liukin, on Feb. 18, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada. The couple began dating in the summer of 2009. Previously, Lysacek dated Olympic ice dancer Tanith Belbin, and they were considered the hottest couple on the ice.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Racing hearts

    of

    Rogue romance -

    American alpine ski racer Tommy Moe, left, married teammate Megan Gerety in 2003. The couple began dating in 1992, and both competed in the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. The competition wasn’t the only hurdle they dealt with – they also faced stiff opposition from Moe’s father, Tom Moe, Sr.

    “Anybody that came in Tommy’s path that would take his attention away from skiing, I was like a caged tiger,” he told the Anchorage Daily News in 1994. “I would attack. So I had problems with Megan.”

    Moe’s father eventually got over it, and the couple, who have retired from competing, continue to live in wedded bliss, coaching together at the Jackson Hole ski camp in Wyoming.

    Getty Images/AFP - Getty Images / Getty Images/AFP - Getty Images
  • Kids For Kids 2005, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Carnival

    Racing hearts

    of

    Across continents -

    She represented Italy, and he represented America, but that didn’t stop Silvia Fontina and John Zimmerman from falling in love. She is a figure skater who competed in the 2002 and 2006 Olympics, while Zimmerman won a bronze medal in the 2002 World Figure Skating Championships for pair skating with his partner Kyoko Ina. In 2002, he got down on one knee in New York’s Central Park to propose to Fontina, and the couple married in Rome the following year.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • US speed skater K.C Boutiette (L) and hi

    Racing hearts

    of

    A good run -

    Once called the “first couple” of speed skating, KC Boutiette and Jennifer Rodriguez met in 1992 and began dating in 1996. Rodriguez was a 12-time world medalist in speed roller skating, and it was Boutiette who introduced her to the ice. Two years later, Rodriguez was the first Hispanic American to make the U.S. Winter Olympics team.

    Boutiette, a five-time Olympian, and Rodriguez, a four-time Olympian, married in 2002. But after six-and-a-half years of marriage, the couple divorced.

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
  • 2007 State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships

    Racing hearts

    of

    From Russia, with love -

    It was the Internet that connected these ice dancing lovebirds. Melissa Gregory came across an online ad placed by Denis Petukhov, who was in Russia at the time and looking for an ice dancing partner. The couple met and began training together, and soon, sparks flew on and off the ice. Four months later, in December 2000, they were engaged. The couple competed together in the 2006 Games, placing 14th, and also won the silver medal in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in 2007.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Figure Skating Show "Ice Symphony"

    Racing hearts

    of

    Golden couple -

    Russian ice dancers Marina Kilmova and Sergei Ponomarenko have been partners on and off the ice since 1984 – they won the bronze medal for the Soviet Union at that year’s Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia and went on to marry that September. The couple moved up together, winning the silver medal in the 1988 Games in Calgary, Canada and taking gold in 1992 for the Unified team.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Women's Super Giant - Alpine FIS Ski World Championships

    Racing hearts

    of

    The Vonn bond -

    A favorite for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, U.S. alpine skier Lindsey Vonn made the 2002 Olympics at just 17. By her side was her coach and former alpine ski racer Thomas Vonn, who competed in the 2002 Olympics. The couple began dating in 2002, and married in 2007.

    "Any day that I'm on snow, he's there," she told the New York Daily News about her husband.

    Thomas Vonn calls himself Lindsey’s “White House Chief of Staff.”

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Jenni Meno and Todd Sand of the US perform a lift

    Racing hearts

    of

    Love in Lillehammer -

    The 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway proved to be momentous for American pair skaters Jenni Meno and Todd Sand for more than one reason. The pair became engaged the day of their short program, where they placed fifth. They competed again in 1998 in Nagano, Japan, this time coming in eighth place. The couple retired in that year, and they spend their time coaching together and raising their two sons.

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
  • Racing hearts

    of

    Musical partners -

    Husband-and-wife Russian ice dancers Maya Usova and Alexander Zhulin took the bronze in the 1992 Games and silver in 1994. They were together for 17 years before splitting up. Zhulin had a much-publicized affair with rival skater and Olympian Oksana Grishuk. He is now married to another former Olympian, Tatyana Navka, pictured below. Navka skated for Belarus in the 1994 and 1998 Games, and won gold in 2006 in ice dancing for Russia.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Racing hearts

    of

    Cross their hearts -

    Borders couldn’t stop cross-country skiers Justin Wadsworth and Beckie Scott from getting together. Wadsworth, a three-time Olympian representing America, and Scott, the first Canadian (and North American) woman to win gold in cross-country skiing, married in 2004. The couple had their first child in 2007.

    Getty Images, AFP - Getty Images / Getty Images, AFP - Getty Images
  • Racing hearts

    of

    Must be his thighs -

    It was Canadian alpine skier Thomas Grandi’s “quadzilla thighs” that captured the heart of fellow Canadian and cross-country skier Sara Renner, according to the couple’s Web site. The couple were introduced by mutual friends. Renner won the silver medal in 2006 and Grandi, now retired, participated in the 2002 and 2006 Games. Now a mother, Renner is also competing in Vancouver.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Christopher Dean [& Wife #2]

    Racing hearts

    of

    Hot off the ice -

    British ice dancer Christopher Dean and American figure skater Jill Trenary married in Minneapolis in 1994, the same year he took bronze at the Winter Games. Dean previously won a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics, while Trenary placed fourth in 1988 and retired three years later.

    Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images / Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
  • Bonnie Blair;Dave Cruikshank

    Racing hearts

    of

    Olympic royalty -

    Bonnie Blair, speed skater and first American woman to win five gold medals at the Winter Games, married her teammate and four-time Olympian Dave Cruikshank in 1996. The couple were friends for four years and dated for six more before getting hitched.

    Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images / Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
  • Carol Heiss Marries Hayes Alan Jenkins

    Racing hearts

    of

    Hearts of gold -

    American figure skater Carol Heiss took home the gold and took the plunge in 1960, marrying Hayes Alan Jenkins, a men’s figure skating gold medalist. Heiss retired and coached during the ‘70s and Jenkins went on to get a law degree from Harvard University.

    Getty Images / Getty Images

Vonn has a history of coming back from injuries, but she looked concerned as she talked to Lauer about this one. “I’m a lot less sure about this injury than I have been in the past,” she said.

She said she feels fine until she puts a boot on and attempts to ski. Vonn said she will show up for the first training run Thursday and see how she feels. Under anti-doping rules, she can take painkillers but is not allowed to get a numbing injection into the injury.

“I feel OK now, but anytime I’m in my boot it’s painful, so I don’t know. 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,” Vonn told Lauer.

“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.”

TOP