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Lindsey Vonn: Recovering from her ‘very scary’ illness

Jay Busbee
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Lindsey Vonn. (Getty Images)

Some good news out of Colorado, as skiing champion Lindsey Vonn has said she is on the road back from a "painful intestinal illness" that hospitalized her a few weeks back.

Writing for The Denver Post, Vonn called her illness "very scary," and conceded that, initially, she wasn't as concerned about the illness as her doctors. "At first I thought it was just a really bad flu," she wrote. "I made three visits to the hospital before finally being admitted. They did a bunch of tests, and they were worried that it was Crohn's disease."

If the doctors' diagnosis of Crohn's disease, which affects the intestinal tract, had been correct, she would have been facing a disease that could have negatively impacted the rest of her career. And, as Vonn noted, other potential chronic problems were on the table as possibilities as well.

Fortunately, Vonn's symptoms subsided by a proper combination of antibiotics. But weariness persisted: "After I got out of the hospital, I was getting tired walking down the hall of my condo, let alone walking up a couple stairs," she wrote. "I had to stop every five steps. I felt like I was 100 years old, and I couldn't even think about skiing."

After a period of buildup, she's now working back up to competitive strength. She continues to hope for a race against men, and while her bid to race against men this past weekend at Lake Louise was rejected, there's still the possibility of an exhibition meet.

In her return to racing this past weekend in Aspen, Vonn finished 21st in the World Cup giant slalom race.  Vonn was 10th after her first run, but did not have the strength to climb any higher. Indeed, Saturday marked the first time she was even able to complete a giant slalom run without having to stop for a break. (Slovenia's Tina Maze won the race.)

"I honestly don't know how strong I will be," she said, speaking of upcoming competitions. "I think I will be competitive, but I need time to regain my strength, and I don't know when I'm going to be 100 percent."

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