Mitchell Gunn

Lindsey Vonn calls intestinal illness “very scary”

3 Comments

The fact that gold medal alpine skier Lindsey Vonn finished 21st in Aspen this weekend was already impressive after she spent two nights in a Colorado hospital with severe intestinal pain last week.

Now, after reading about her ordeal in a letter she contributed to the Denver Post, it seems like a miracle the 28-year-old made it up the mountain.

Vonn called the illness “very scary” and candidly explained her fears that she had developed Crohn’s disease. She added that she had to be “super drugged” on morphine and Percocet because of the pain, and noted the difficulty of her slow recovery after getting out of the hospital days before her race.

“I was getting tired walking down the hall of my condo,” wrote Vonn, “let alone walking up a couple stairs. I had to stop every five steps. I felt like I was 100 years old, and I couldn’t even think about skiing.

“Even when I got better, it took me a long time to build back into training. I started just walking on the treadmill for 10 minutes. I was getting lightheaded doing everything.”

Vonn finished by writing that this weekend’s races in Lake Louise, a course often referred to as “Lake Lindsey” because of the 11 titles she’s won there, is an important litmus test for her recovery and her season.

“I honestly don’t know how strong I will be. I think I will be competitive, but I need time to regain my strength, and I don’t know when I’m going to be 100 percent.

“I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, because that’s all I can do.”

Mikaela Shiffrin wrestles with doubt in seconds before World Cup downhill debut

Mikaela Shiffrin, of the United States, skis during the third training run for the World Cup women's downhill ski race in Lake Louise, Alberta, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)
AP
Leave a comment

After a momentary panic in the start house, Mikaela Shiffrin raced to a tie for 18th in the first downhill of her World Cup career in Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday.

Shiffrin, the youngest Olympic slalom champion who has also won a World Cup giant slalom, has been slowly adding the speed events of super-G and downhill to her repertoire the last two seasons.

“It wasn’t bad,” Shiffrin said, according to SkiRacing.com. “I certainly didn’t risk anything crazy.”

Her result Friday, 1.99 seconds behind Slovenian winner Ilka Stuhec, came after Shiffrin was 18th, 24th and 30th fastest in downhill training runs the previous three days. Shiffrin also had to wait several minutes in the start house as the racer before her crashed (video here).

“That was just a bummer,” Shiffrin said, according to the Denver Post. “I was like, ‘Just don’t let it affect you,’ but being up there for 10 minutes, like, ‘What happened? What’s taking them so long? What’s going on? Is she hurt?’

“Then I started doubting myself, like my technique going off the jumps, which is actually pretty good. I was going back and forth between, ‘Should I even be doing this? Maybe I just should pull out because I don’t want to kill myself.’ Then I’m like, ‘You’re absolutely fine, you haven’t felt sketched out a single time on this track in the past three days, so stick with that. You don’t have to go crazy.'”

“To be fast in speed there certainly needs to be a certain level of risk, and I know that, but now, if [giant slalom] and slalom are my main priority this season, I don’t need to be going crazy in a downhill with flat light and after I got iced [waiting so long],” Shiffrin said, according to SkiRacing.com.

Stuhec won Friday’s race by .22 of a second over Italian Sofia Goggia. Swede Kajsa Kling was third.

A race replay can be seen here. Full results are here.

Lindsey Vonn, owner of a record 18 wins at Lake Louise, is missing the annual World Cup stop in Alberta due to a broken arm from a November crash. Vonn had raced at Lake Louise each of the previous 15 seasons.

Last season, Shiffrin made her World Cup debut in the super-G at Lake Louise and finished 15th.

The women have another downhill Saturday and a super-G on Sunday in Lake Louise, both streaming live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app (schedule here).

MORE: Vonn eyes January return from her most painful injury

High-speed crash at World Cup downhill in Lake Louise (video)

Leave a comment

Swiss Joana Haehlen crashed into netting at high speed during a World Cup downhill at Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday.

Haehlen, 24, lost her right ski after landing from a jump and sped uncontrollably off course. She braced for impact, slammed into red netting and was turned around before landing with neither of her skis still attached.

She lay on the snow while being attended to and eventually skied down the mountain on her own.

It caused a 10-minute delay before the next skier, American Mikaela Shiffrin, could take her run.

VIDEO: Vonn details the most painful injury of her career