HINTERREIT, Austria (AP) — Olympic downhill champion Lindsey Vonn escaped major injury after slamming her head on the slope during training, six days before the opening race of the world championships.
Thomas Vonn, her husband and chief adviser, said in an e-mail to The Associated Press that the three-time overall World Cup champion was “pretty sore” and still “has a bit of a headache,” but was feeling all right. She will take Thursday off to rest.
“She hit her head pretty hard yesterday and was a bit out of it immediately after the crash, so we went to the hospital and had some tests done just to be safe. The tests were clean with nothing major wrong,” Thomas Vonn said. “She should be fine in a day or two. But it is always complex with head injuries — it could take 12 hours or it could take a week or month. You just don’t know.”
Vonn said on her Facebook page she has “had a pretty scary crash … I hit my head pretty hard and had to go to the hospital to get a CT scan. Luckily the scan showed no major injuries.”
Vonn posted a video of the crash, which showed the American star losing balance in a right turn, falling backward and ending up motionless on the slope.
“I should be fine in a few days,” said Vonn, who was expected to race in a slalom on Friday and a giant slalom the following day at a World Cup event in Arber-Zwiesel, Germany.
“I will have to see how I feel and play it by ear for the upcoming races this weekend,” the three-time overall World Cup champion said.
Vonn’s season has been marred by a string of near-crashes. She injured her left knee with a strenuous recovery after making a big mistake last month during a downhill in Cortina, Italy.
“Lindsey’s falls and near falls have been happening for different reasons. You can’t put them into one category like skiing past your limit or too close to the edge,” Thomas Vonn said. “Certainly some of the near misses and crashes come from pressing past your comfort zone, but some are because of inconsistent snow conditions and most of them are just fluky things that could happen just the same if you were skiing 50 percent or 110 percent.
“The Cortina (downhill) race this year is a perfect example of that. She was skiing very within herself when that near miss happened. Catching an edge can happen to anyone at anytime.”
Thomas Vonn said the crash Wednesday was simply the result of the changing snow conditions.
“The surface went from very grippy to very slick then back to grippy over and over,” he said. “It would be the equivalent of spraying random patches of oil on an F1 track. It’s the most dangerous condition a skier will face, but unfortunately we have to train it because (World Cup) race conditions are very often like that.”
Vonn will defend her super-G and downhill titles at the Feb. 8-20 worlds in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
The super-G race is the opening race, scheduled for Tuesday.
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