Vonn hopes brace protects arm

1/11/2010 - Olympic Sports

FLACHAU, Austria -- Reigning World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn dominated three days of speed racing in Haus im Ennstal, Austria, as no American had done before.

Her bruised left lower arm, which she hurt in a crash at last month's giant slalom race in Lienz, did not prevent her from winning two downhills and a super-G.

But Tuesday's night slalom in nearby Flachau -- hometown to retired skiing great Hermann Maier -- will be a different story: hitting gates still hurts. The new brace she got last week should better protect her arm.

It has been supplied by the same company that gave Vonn a thumb brace after she injured herself on a broken champagne bottle at last year's world championships in Val d'Isere.

Vonn tested equipment during a few training runs Monday and took time to rest her arm.

"I've got this cool brace now. I hope this helps at the slalom," she said.

Three wins in Haus raised her total to 28 victories, putting her at No. 2 on the all-time list of American skiers, three titles behind Bode Miller.

"Three in a row definitely helps my confidence. It's just good to know that I can ski well under pressure," Vonn said.

Vonn hasn't won a World Cup slalom since Garmisch-Partenkirchen 12 months ago, her second win in the discipline.

Among the favorites for Tuesday's race is slalom world champion Maria Riesch, Vonn's main challenger in the overall standings.

The German is 192 points behind and could help herself by racking up some points in Flachau as well as in Maribor, Slovenia, where another slalom and a giant slalom will be staged next weekend.

Sandrine Aubert of France leads the discipline standings and will be looking for her third victory of the season after winning in Are, Sweden, and Zagreb.