ARE, Sweden (Reuters) - Lindsey Vonn made up for lost time at the Alpine ski world championships on Friday by completing the downhill part of the women’s combined as preparation for the final race of her career.
The U.S. great, who bows out after Sunday’s downhill in Are, sported a black eye after her big super-G crash earlier in the week but was in good spirits as she waved and smiled to the crowd.
“It was OK. I was definitely really stiff out of the start. I’ve been having some rib problems, my rib’s out,” she told Eurosport television.
“It feels really bad and I am just trying to keep it loose as it tightens and really messes up kind of everything.”
Vonn, who had no intention of doing the later slalom section, said Friday had been a good test for her to ski in competitive conditions.
“I have another gear left to go and I’m just going to rest tomorrow and be ready for Sunday,” added the 34-year-old.
Vonn had missed downhill training on Wednesday and Thursday, with one final session scheduled for Saturday.
Friday’s run, on a shortened piste brought down to the super-G start due to poor visibility and bad weather, provided more familiarization but Vonn said she still needed to figure out the top section.
“Obviously, it is difficult with a lower start — you are not coming in there with any speed,” she said. “That first jump, I tried a line that didn’t work out today so I’m going to look at the video.
“In the bottom section, I know where to go to be fast and I just have to execute on Sunday.”
Retired compatriot Bode Miller, now a race analyst for Eurosport, had no doubt she would do that.
“She’s a warrior, there’s no question,” he told viewers. “You watch her interviews, you look at her history — her surgery history alone, just on paper, is terrible — but she’s still able to get up there and put down incredible results.
“She’s like (retiring Norwegian champion) Aksel (Lund Svindal), you don’t ever count them out. They’re where they are because they are special,” added Miller.
“It’s hard to see her crash like that, but I would never count her out of a downhill. She’s figuring stuff out, you can see her brain working and that’s why she’s such a great champion. She’ll figure out a way to win.”
Writing by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Ed Osmond