Vonn fall ends Olympic gold rush dream

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The Independent Online

Lindsey Vonn stepped into her brown hiking boots, a grimace betraying the pain in her bruised right shin and the sting of a fall that prevented her from completing Thursday's super-combined race at the Olympics.

She won the downhill on Wednesday, but three competitive runs in a little more than 24 hours might have been too much.



"It's killing me," she said, before she went out of her way to make clear that the injury wasn't why she lost.



Instead, a common skiing slip-up derailed her bid for a second gold in as many days. She simply failed to get her right ski around a gate during the slalom run after entering that portion of the super-combined in first place. Vonn was 0.33 seconds ahead of gold medalist Maria Riesch of Germany and 0.80 ahead of American teammate Julia Mancuso, who won her second silver in two days, in the morning's downhill leg.



"I hooked a tip, and that happens in ski racing all the time," Vonn said. "I just wish it wasn't at the Olympic Games."



She's planned all along to participate in all five Alpine events, but there's no guarantee her sore leg will allow that.



"Nothing is for sure, one way or another. Right now the schedule is to do everything, and I anticipate she will do everything," said Thomas Vonn, who serves as a coach and adviser to his wife. "But anything can change in 10 minutes."



Or a split-second.



As Thursday's early leader, Vonn was the last of the top 30 skiers to do the slalom, a discipline that's toughest on her tender shin because of all the tight, back-and-forth turns through the gates.



With Riesch — who happens to be Vonn's best friend, in addition to her biggest rival — and Mancuso having raced already, and no one else having been close to perfect, Vonn figured that if she played things safe, a medal was a sure thing. But she wanted more than just a medal.



"I definitely was risking," Vonn said.



Vonn now will take Friday off, resting and treating her injury before Saturday's super-G, the third of her five events and the last in which she will be the outright favorite. She also is entered in the giant slalom and slalom next week.

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