LIENZ // Olympic favourite Lindsey Vonn suffered an injury scare after a crash on the opening run of a World Cup giant slalom in Austria yesterday. The American hurt her left lower arm, but is expected to race in today's slalom event. She suffered no broken bones, said doctor Eduard Sporer from Lienz district hospital. "It's not a classic broken wrist, but a swelling or edema in the bone," said Sporer, who added that Vonn would be able to race in the slalom.
The American crashed in a sharp left turn. She lost her balance on a bump and fell backwards, hitting a gate and losing a ski. The two-time World Cup overall champion remained down for almost 10 minutes receiving first aid and then was taken to hospital. "My arm really hurts," Vonn said as she climbed into an ambulance and headed to the hospital for tests. "I don't know what has happened. I believe it's broken."
Thankfully for her she was wrong. Vonn was coming off a successful weekend in Val D'Isere, France, where a victory in the super combined and a third-place finish in a super-G helped her to reclaim the sole lead of the overall World Cup standings ahead of friend and rival Maria Riesch of Germany. Riesch, who started immediately after Vonn, was distracted by her crash and missed a gate on the middle section of the partly icy Schlossberg course.
Vonn, 25, who lives and trains in Vail, Colorado, has been considered a medal hope in all five Alpine events during the Olympics - downhill, super-G, slalom, GS and super combined (one downhill run and one slalom run). If she is unable to ski in Vancouver, it will be the latest in a string of Olympic disappointments. Vonn finished with a sixth and 22nd in Salt Lake City in 2002 and did not finish in the top six of any events in Turin in 2006. * With agencies