Vonn will race slalom: coach

WHISTLER Wed Feb 24, 2010 9:22pm EST

1 of 6. Lindsey Vonn of the U.S. goes down the piste after crashing out during the first run of the women's alpine skiing Giant Slalom event at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics in Whistler, British Columbia, February 24, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay

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WHISTLER (Reuters) - Lindsey Vonn is sure to compete in the final women's Alpine ski race of the Vancouver Olympics despite fracturing her little finger on Wednesday, the U.S. team's head coach said.

"One hundred percent, absolutely," Jim Tracy told Reuters when asked what the chances were of the downhill gold medalist and standout skier of the U.S. women's team competing in Friday's slalom.

"She'll race. Too much drama," he added.

"She's had way worse than that (injury). She'll be fine."

Vonn had said earlier that she would "see how I feel tomorrow and make a call on the slalom" after hurting the hand when she crashed in Wednesday's giant slalom first run.

Jim Moeller, the U.S. team's chief medical officer, described the injury as a "non-displaced fracture of the proximal phalanx of the small finger in her right hand."

"My body is okay, I'm just frustrated and disappointed in myself," Vonn told reporters, smiling but with an ice pack on her hand.

She lost her balance, twisted and careered into the safety netting in the first run of the giant slalom held in gloomy conditions with snow falling.

SKIED DOWN

The American, who also won a bronze in super-G but crashed out of the super combined, got back to her feet and skied down the side of the hill.

"I went a little bit too inside, lost the outside ski and was tangled up in the fence before I could really think about it," she said. "I was hoping to try again for a medal but it just wasn't my day."

Vonn has been on the podium five times in slalom in the World Cup with two wins. Her last podium finish in the discipline was in November in Levi, Finland.

Team mate Julia Mancuso, the defending Olympic champion, was next out of the start hut and was released while Vonn was still being attended to.

Her run was halted and she was allowed a re-start, but her concentration was shattered and she left the finish area in tears after completing the re-scheduled run with a time well outside the top 10.

"I know she's disappointed, I feel terrible that I crashed," said Vonn.

Vonn arrived in Vancouver with a shin injury and her participation in the Games had been in doubt.

(Additional reporting by Simon Evans)

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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