â†µNormally, I wouldn't get too anxious about an athlete's shin bruise; it's not the most serious injury one can incur, and rarely results in a long disruption of a season or career. But Lindsey Vonn's, revealed just days before the 2010 Winter Olympics open? Vonn, an athlete whose discipline involves flying down hills at speeds that make my femurs quiver, potentially performing at less than full strength? Color me concerned. â†µâ†µ
â†µâ‡¥"When I tried my boot on, I was just standing in the hotel room barley flexing forward, and it was excruciatingly painful," Vonn said of her recent injury on NBC's "Today" show Wednesday morning. "I've got to try to ski downhill at 70-80 mph with a lot of forces pushed up against my shin, and I don't honestly know if I'll be able to do it," she added of her ability to compete in the Vancouver Games. â†µâ‡¥â†µIf Vonn can't go, it would be a shame. She was hurt before the 2006 Turin Games, and did not medal, and has since become probably the most dominant women's skier in the world. And her body picks now, a week before a quadrennial competition, to betray her? That's tough luck. â†µ
â†µâ‡¥Vonn called the injury a "deep muscle bruise. I have a contusion, so the muscle is bleeding. It's really deep inside the muscle." â†µâ‡¥â†µâ‡¥
â†µâ‡¥She was told by her doctor that it could be a "couple of weeks" before the muscle is completely healed. â†µâ‡¥â†µ
â†µThat's why I'm glad Vonn got a bit of shine on her now-infamous Sports Illustrated cover. Regardless of your thoughts on whether it was exploitative or not, it created a buzz for Vonn that she would not have otherwise had, and a buzz that few Olympic athletes get. That buzz, hopefully, will translate into a little attention and sympathy for Vonn and her sport, which only "matters" every four years when it is draped in nationalistic trappings and positioned as sport for country's sake. â†µâ†µ
â†µI have to agree with former TSBer Spencer Hall on this one: The Olympics are just great snapshots of sports, period. Downhill skiing, especially, is a thrill, and it isn't a thrill because I get to chant "U-S-A!" The Olympics are wonderful because they feature great athletes who are fantastic at what they do, and that excellence is compelling. â†µâ†µ
â†µVonn may not get to capitalize on all of the buzz she got by demonstrating her excellence to a more mainstream audience, which is sad. But at least she got buzz: Naming another Olympic skier isn't so easy. I hope that if Vonn is a non-factor, the attention paid to skiing over the next few weeks will get someone else their shine and a chance to get their story told. â†µâ†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.