Vonn October 2009 Erich Spiess/Red Bull Photofiles

Alpine skiing World Cup holder Lindsey Vonn suffered a horrendous crash on the first leg of the World Cup Giant Slalom run in Lienz, Austria today, but luckily escaped with little more than heavy bruising.

Vonn, who is currently leading the World Cup race, lost her balance on a bump after a sharp left turn and fell backwards, hitting a gate and losing a ski. She landed heavily on her left hip and arm and stayed down for almost 10 minutes while she received treatment from the first aid crew. She then stood up, put her skis back on and continued down the hill with her arm in a sling.

Maria Riesch, who is Vonn’s closest challenger in the overall standings, was next to run after Vonn. She appeared to be distracted by her friend’s crash, missing a gate on the middle section.

"It's hard to stay focused and keep your concentration during such a break," said the German. "But it wasn't the main reason for my mistake. It's more down to my lack of confidence in GS at the moment."

The world champion, meanwhile, was hospitalized. "It hurts in the left arm and hand," Vonn told Austrian television before heading to the local hospital, where she was examined and released soon after. 

Doctors said she had not suffered a fracture, only swelling, and should be fit to compete in tomorrow's slalom event.

Vonn remains on top of the overall table at 581 points, with Riesch in second place at 531.

Keep up with the action at the FIS World Cup website.


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