Vonn improves but racing plans uncertain
Lindsey Vonn plans to treat Friday's super-combined race at the world championships as a training run, adding she'll pull up if she feels the lingering effects of a concussion.
Vonn completed a full training run Thursday wearing a puffy white hooded-jacket and blue snow pants to slow her down, while getting enough speed to see if she had any symptoms. If the downhill portion of the combined event goes well, she might enter the afternoon slalom leg, but that appears unlikely.
"The second I have a headache or focus problems, I'm going to stop," Vonn said. "I want to be really careful from here on out. It's a pretty bad sign that I had symptoms again after the super-G, which means that I'm not recovered yet, so I'm not going to take any chances.
"This is a dangerous downhill, and if I don't feel like I can focus then I'm not going to do it."
Vonn finished seventh in the super-G at world on Tuesday, and said she felt like she was "skiing in a fog." She skipped the opening downhill training session on Wednesday. She suffered the concussion after crashing during a training run last week in Austria.
"I feel better today," Vonn said. "I took yesterday completely off. I did basically nothing. I sat in a dark room and didn't have any stimulation, which is what the doctors told me to do, and today I feel much better."
U.S. women's team head physician William Sterett has been putting Vonn through a series of concussion protocol tests, all of which she has passed.
"I woke up with no headache and I went up and I passed all the tests," Vonn said. "I did a test before I did inspection, and another test before I did the run and I passed both of those, so I decided to do the training run with my clothes — obviously to slow things down for me — but basically just to see if I could compete or do the training run and hold the concentration from the very top to the very bottom. And I felt good. I felt like it was a very good step in the right direction."
Sterett said there's a checklist for concussion symptoms.
"If there are positive symptoms — things like nausea or headache or feeling like you're in a fog — any of those things, then you're shut down for sure," Sterett told The AP. "Once these symptoms become negative, then we go onto more cognitive testing -- balance, memory, repetition — things that are easily defined and measured.
"Again, if you don't pass that then you're done again. Once you pass that, then we take a step backwards to the subjective test list and try to slowly increase the stress or exertion on an athlete."
Sterett has been measuring Vonn's exertion on a stationary bike and during free skiing.
Vonn says she will treat the downhill portion of the super-combined race Friday as a training run, and will stop if she feels problems.
Vonn won this season's only super-combined race in December in Val d'Isere, France.
Sejersted swiftest in training
Lotte Smiseth Sejersted of Norway posted the fastest time.
The 19-year-old Sejersted, who won the junior world downhill title in Crans Montana, Switzerland, last week, finished in one minute 49.55 seconds to beat second-place Julia Mancuso of the United States by 0.59.
Elena Fanchini of Italy was 1.07 back in third.
World Cup leader Maria Riesch of Germany skipped training because of fever.
The German ski federation said Riesch will decide shortly before the race if she'll start.
World Cup overall champion Carlo Janka of Switzerland pulled out of both the upcoming downhill and super-combined.
The Swiss team said Janka was not in good physical condition, possibly as a result of a viral infection in December.
Doctors detected a change in Janka's heartbeat, but have delayed treatment until the end of the season as the condition is not threatening.
Janka will return to Switzerland to prepare for next week's giant slalom race at the worlds.