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.”
Katie Ledecky rewrote the Stanford Avery Aquatic Center pool record book in her first college home meet.
The five-time Olympic gold medalist broke pool records in winning the 200- and 500-yard freestyles in a dual meet with Washington State on Thursday.
Ledecky clocked 1:44.18 in the 200-yard free, which broke Olympic champion teammate Simone Manuel‘s mark of 1:44.34 from last year.
The NCAA Championships winning time from last season was 1:42.42. Ledecky’s personal best in the event is 1:41.04. The American record is 1:39.10 by Missy Franklin.
About 45 minutes later, Ledecky won the 500-yard freestyle in 4:36.43, breaking 2008 Olympian Julia Smit‘s pool record of 4:41.74.
The NCAA Championships winning time from last season was 4:31.33. Ledecky’s personal best is 4:26.58, which doubles as the American record.
Ledecky passed up millions in endorsement dollars to swim collegiately.
The Stanford women’s swim team hosts Texas on Nov. 12, streamed live.
MORE: Phelps, Ledecky lead Golden Goggle nominees
Nick Symmonds, the outspoken two-time U.S. Olympic 800m runner, said he thinks he’s going to try and compete one more season.
“I really want to make one more worlds team,” Symmonds said in a Facebook video Thursday. “I’ve just got to make sure my ankle holds up.”
Symmonds, 32, last raced May 18 and missed the Olympic Trials due to a left ankle injury. He said Thursday that he’s 100 percent healthy and running 40 miles per week.
On June 30, Symmonds said after withdrawing before the Olympic Trials that he “could possibly” compete one more year, but the decision would come down to whether his apparel sponsor, Brooks, wanted to extend his contract beyond 2016.
The 2013 World Championships silver medalist said he had accomplished all of his running goals except for winning an Olympic medal (he was fifth in 2012) and completing a marathon.
In 2015, Symmonds won his sixth U.S. 800m title but missed the world championships due to a contract dispute with USA Track and Field.
Once he retires, Symmonds has said he wants to climb the tallest mountain on every continent.
MORE: Devon Allen: I can still be a 2-sport athlete