GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) — Lindsey Vonn likely will skip the super-combined at the world championships, and the reigning overall World Cup champion could pull out altogether after recently sustaining a concussion.
“It’s not official yet, but it’s looking like that,” Vonn’s husband and chief adviser, Thomas Vonn, told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “If she comes out tomorrow and feels great and does a fast training session we could re-evaluate, but it’s unlikely at this point that she’ll compete in combined.”
Vonn crashed and hit her head in giant slalom training a week ago in Austria. She was clearly not herself in the opening super-G on Tuesday at worlds, finishing seventh. She said she couldn’t ski her best: “It’s like I’m skiing in a fog.”
“I can’t process the information fast enough, and that’s why I’m behind the course, all the bumps are throwing me around,” she said Tuesday after the race. “It’s because my body is one gate ahead of where my mind is, and that’s not a good way to ski.”
Vonn had a scan last week and was cleared to compete. However, she plans to meet with U.S. team doctor William Sterett for another evaluation Wednesday evening. Because Sterett is primarily an orthopedic surgeon, Thomas Vonn said they were considering a specialist.
“Even if they brought in the world’s best specialist, they would probably tell her the same thing: Rest until it feels better,” Thomas Vonn said. “The problem is, it’s not like there’s a pill you can take. With the brain, there’s just not much of a way to know when it’s better.”
Vonn likely will try downhill training Thursday and re-evaluate. She already skipped the opening downhill training session Wednesday. She would need to enter at least one training session to be able to compete in the super-combined on Friday or the downhill on Sunday.
Vonn won the only super-combined race this season, in December at Val d’Isere, France, and would be a favorite if she decides to race.
“She’s prepared to skip races at this point, if necessary,” said Thomas Vonn, a former U.S. Ski Team racer. “It doesn’t make sense to risk your life, especially on a slope that is prepared like this. We both feel it’s overdone and dangerous.”
U.S. women’s head coach Alex Hoedlmoser also was concerned about the course.
“(The course) is very, very challenging — bumpy, icy, long,” Hoedlmoser said. “So she needs to be 100 percent in order to do well, or to manage it.”
At this point, Vonn’s focus may be on defending her title in the downhill on Sunday. She also won gold in the event at the Vancouver Olympics. After that, the remaining events are slalom and giant slalom.
“We’re not looking beyond the downhill now,” Thomas Vonn said. “It’s very unpredictable. She could feel great again and finish up with a great championships, or we could be pulling out of the rest of the championships and just rest up for the end of World Cup.”