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Lindsey Vonn completes first downhill training run

2:23 PM, Dec 6, 2013   |    comments
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LAKE LOUISE, Alberta - Lindsey Vonn completed her first downhill training run on a chilly bluebird day. Her time placed her in the middle of the pack - 22nd in a field of 60 skiers.

"I'm really happy to be back here in Lake Louise," Vonn said afterwards. "Of course I was a little nervous, but I'm really happy to be back. First training run, first kind of real race situation since February so it's been a long time. So I'm really happy."

After tomorrow's training, Vonn will decide whether to compete in downhill races Friday and Saturday and in Sunday's super G.

"Knee feels good, it feels stable so I'm just going to play it by ear tomorrow," she said.

Her decision will be based on "whether the swelling holds up, if it stays stable. Make sure there's no swelling so the quad can react appropriately and can fire appropriately."

The four-time overall World Cup champion and reigning Olympic downhill gold medalist is trying to return to competition after partially tearing the ACL in her reconstructed right knee two weeks ago. Vonn has decided to put off surgery until after the Sochi Olympics, which begin in two months.

Downhill training began a day later than originally scheduled due to travel delays resulting from a debilitating blizzard in Calgary. Later that night, ski race officials gave a rundown of course conditions, cautioning coaches about the arctic outbreak, with temperatures of minus 26 at the base.

Entering Wednesday's run, Vonn felt strong after training in super G at Vail, Colo., last weekend and was cleared by her doctor, Bill Sterett, to begin downhill training, the U.S. Ski Team said.

Nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies and Banff National Park, the race has been dubbed "Lake Lindsey" with good reason. Of her 59 career World Cup race victories, 14 have come at Lake Louise. Last season she won both downhills and the super-G, recording a hat trick at the Alberta resort for the second consecutive year after winning all three races in 2011.

Last year she also unsuccessfully petitioned the sport's international governing body to race the men's World Cup at the site.

(Copyright © 2013 USA TODAY)

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