Lindsey Vonn has a badly bruised right shin. Or so we’re told.
Days before the Olympics kicked off, the U.S. skiing star-slash-swimsuit model said the pain in her leg was so fierce that she may have to pull out of the Games—a nightmare scenario not only for the American squad, but for every man who saw her on the cover of Sports Illustrated and suddenly became a fan of alpine skiing. Yet there she was on Wednesday afternoon, whipping the rest of the field—on the nastiest of downhill courses—for a runaway gold medal.
This morning, after a long night of celebrating, Vonn and her sore right shin were back in championship form, finishing atop the first heat of the women’s Super Combined with a time of 1:24:16. If she can tame the slalom later this afternoon, the undisputed heartthrob of the 2010 Games will also be its first athlete to capture two golds.
So how’s the shin? “It’s not good,” she told reporters after the first run. “It’s really hurting and I’m struggling with it. It’s definitely the most painful it’s been since I started skiing on it, but there’s nothing really I can do. I just have to try to do therapy and try to tough it out today.” That therapy, it seems, includes some fence hopping.
At Whister’s Creekside course, competitors exit the course through a red carpet-style runway lined with journalists and photographers. When she finished her final scrum a few minutes ago, Vonn didn’t bother waiting for someone to unlock the gate and let her through. To the horror of her handlers, she simply climbed over. “Are you sure you should do that?” asked one of the American officials standing with her. By then, she was already halfway over.
Safely on the other side, Vonn smiled for the cameras one more time, clicked on her skis, and glided away. Shin looks fine.