Olympic Gold Medalist American Lindsey Vonn has pulled out of remaining events at the World Alpine Skiing Championships at Garmisch-Partenkirche, Germany on medical advice. It was one thing to ski through a badly bruised shin at Whistler last year, but another to risk ski racing through the aftereffects of what was called "a mild concussion."
Vonn fell on her head while training in Austria the week before the championships, but news reports out of Germany noted she "was clearly not her normal self' in opening events. She said she felt like she was "skiing in a fog."
"It's been a really difficult few weeks and at every stage, I've had 100 percent confidence in the medical advice I've been provided and believe we've made the right decisions," Vonn told media. "I'm a competitor and I love to race - that's what makes this a really tough choice, but I feel it's the right one."
She said she plans to take some time off, remaining in Europe, and hopes to return to the World Cup tour when it resumes in Are, Sweden. Training runs for that event begin Feb. 23. Vonn, three-time defending overall World Cup champion, currently trails Maria Riesch of Germany by 156 points in the standings.
There has been plenty of criticism over the fact that Vonn had been cleared to ski at all. A second impact could have life-altering effects. She had a head scan the day after her crash, but the U.S. Ski Team never banned her from racing. She reportedly passed a series of concussion protocol exams multiple times each day of the championships. She pulled out of the events after consulting with U.S. women's team physician William Sterett who had been testing her, and her husband and adviser, Thomas, a former U.S. Ski Team racer.
Vonn had taken seventh in the super G and told reporters her reaction time felt slow. She took herself out of the super-combined (one run of downhill, followed by two runs of slalom) between runs to continue resting. She finished second in Sunday's downhill. She will miss the giant slalom, slalom, and team events.
Injuries are nothing new to the American champ, having battled through a severely bruised shin injury in the Olympics to win gold in the downhill and bronze in the super-G. Nor have the World Championships been kind to her. She sliced her thumb open on a champagne bottle after sweeping gold medals in downhill and super-G. She missed the 2007 slalom and giant slalom at the worlds at Are after injuring her knee in training.
(Note: This article compiled from a variety of media reports.)