Last February, Lindsey Vonn sliced her thumb open on a champagne bottle during a photo op gone bad, forcing her to race the rest of the season with her pole taped to her glove.
"It's more similar than we could've imagined," Thomas Vonn said of the injured pinkie.
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The 25-year-old Vonn is no stranger to injury, especially at these Olympics. She entered the games with a badly bruised right shin, the result of a crash during slalom training in Austria on Feb. 2. She even tried wrapping her leg in topfen, an Austrian curd cheese said to reduce swelling.
Still, the injury remained so painful that she struggled to slip on a ski boot in her hotel, let alone ski down a slope, and worried at one point if she would be able to compete in one event, let alone all five.
Using painkillers and a numbing cream, Vonn was able to get the shin ready for competition, winning a gold in downhill and a bronze in super-G.
She crashed out of two other events. She hooked a tip on a gate in the slalom portion of the super-combined and then, spun out of control in the giant slalom, slid across the snow and slammed into the netting. Somewhere along the way -- she's really not sure where -- she injured her finger.
Even fully healthy, Vonn would hardly be the faorite in the slalom.
That tag belongs to her close friend, Germany's Maria Riesch, the World Cup slalom leader this season.
And, even with a sore left calf, Sweden's Anja Paerson remains a top contender as well. She is the defending Olympic champion and is attempting to become the most decorated woman in Alpine history. With a bronze in the super-combined last week, Paerson tied Croatia's Janica Kostelic with six career medals.
"Wouldn't it be awesome if I won it again?" said Paerson, herself still feeling the effects of a bad landing in the downhill last week. "No one believes it, so I'm going to prove everybody wrong."
For Vonn, the last race at these Olympics is quite similar to her first -- managing pain in order to compete.
"She'll be ready," Thomas Vonn said. "You lay it all out there in the Olympics."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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