WHISTLER, British Columbia – American Lindsey Vonn crashed and failed to finish the first run of the fog-shrouded women’s Olympic giant slalom race Wednesday and broke her right pinkie. It was undecided if she would run her final event at the Vancouver Games later in the week.

Vonn lost control around a right turn in the middle section of the course, got twisted around, landed hard on her left hip and crashed backward into the safety netting.

”The course is breaking up at the bottom,” Vonn said, holding ice on her finger, adding that her back and shin were hurting, too. ”I got a little bit too inside and lost my outside ski. My knee came up and hit my chin. I don’t know honestly how I hurt my hand.

”I’m just a little bit beat up right now,” added Vonn, who also fell in the slalom leg of the super-combined last week. ”Things don’t seem to be quite going my way.”

After being checked at the side of the course for a few minutes, Vonn got up and skied down to the finish.

”I was like a pretzel, so tangled up,” Vonn said.

Dr. Jim Moeller, chief medical officer for the U.S. Olympic team, said Vonn had a non-displaced fracture of the proximal phalanx of the small finger — where the pinkie connects to the hand. He said Vonn, who won the downhill and was third in the super-G despite nursing a badly bruised right shin the entire Olympics, had not decided if she will race in Friday’s final women’s event, the slalom.

The second run of the giant slalom was postponed later Wednesday until today because fog made it impossible to see the course.

American Julia Mancuso was the next skier down the mountain after Vonn and had to pull up midway through her run because her teammate was still being tended to on the side of the course.

Mancuso, the defending champion in giant slalom, ended up 18th after starting the opening leg again and was visibly angry over the disruption.

While giant slalom is usually Vonn’s worst event, she had posted the fastest split times until her crash.

”I was hoping for something today,” Vonn said. ”I was charging, I was skiing hard. I’m disappointed in myself now that I made that mistake. I can only keep smiling. I know I was skiing well.”

Vonn had a difficult starting position, 17th, but was 0.35 seconds ahead of the pace by first-run leader Elisabeth Goergl of Austria at the third split, just before the crash.


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