Vonn is no stranger to adversity. At the 2006 Torino Olympics, she was airlifted off the slopes after crashing during training two days before the Games began. But so determined was she to get back on her skis, she was caught trying to escape from the hospital in the gown they had provided.
She did indeed rebound, racing four of five events and placing in the top 10. Now, she’s trying to muster the same courage – and hope that this time she’ll be able to add an Olympic medal to her two World Championship titles.
"This winter I've already had an arm injury, but this is a part of my leg. It feels more like the 2006 Torino Olympics,” Vonn told Matt Lauer of NBC's TODAY Show. “I've fought through injuries before – I'm no stranger to that. But it's going to be really hard. I just have to try to stay positive and do the best I can."
Two-time Olympic medalist Picabo Street, whom Vonn looked up to as a young skier and whose legacy she overtook with success of her own, has encouraged Vonn to be clear about her own expectations. With increasingly dominant performances on the World Cup, it was hard for her to escape others’ high expectations.
“I told Lindsey – five golds, that’s huge – if that’s what you want, you profess it, you own it, and you can be satisfied with that,” Street told the Monitor in a recent interview.
“I have to be honest, I get nervous for her. She’s my buddy, but I kind of have this a big-sisterly thing for her.”
Vonn, known for being tougher than her competitors – training longer hours in the gym and cranking out serious rides on her road bike – is keeping her chin up.
"I have to wait until the first training run on Thursday and go up [to the trails at Whistler Creekside], put my skis on and see how it feels," said Vonn. "I'm thinking about how I can manage it so I can race well in all my disciplines. I don't know if that means sitting out a training run to get some extra rest. I'll have to keep doing therapy and play it by ear. All I can say is that I will do my best."
Her first shot at training comes Thursday morning on the immaculate slopes at Creekside, with the first race – the Super Combined – taking place on Sunday.
Follow Christa on Twitter as she tweets live from the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games.