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Lindsey Vonn hurt by criticism

By Brian Homewood

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (Reuters) - Olympic downhill champion Lindsey Vonn said she was hurt by the criticism she had received during the world championships and hoped that people still liked her.

Vonn, silver medalist in Sunday's women's downhill, said her complaints about conditions on the course had been wrongly interpreted as criticism of the host venue itself.

It has also been suggested that her concussion injury was a tactic to unsettle her rivals.

"I had the impression that the newspapers and television here were not nice to me," said the American, who also suffered an injury on the eve on last year's Winter Olympics and went on to win the downhill.

"It was not a show, I did what I thought was right for me to ski well," said Vonn, who finished seventh in the super-G last Tuesday but skipped the slalom leg of Friday's super-combined.

"I hope people still like me. I was not criticizing Garmisch when I said things about the course being too icy.

"That was about the International Ski Federation's preparations and by speaking out I did what I thought was best for the world championships."

Vonn said the concussion she suffered in a training accident 10 days ago had been the most difficult injury she had faced.

"I've had a lot of injuries before but mostly it's been about dealing with the pain. I think I'm pretty tough and I can usually grit my teeth and get on with it. But this injury has taken away my drive and my focus.

"The doctors say I should stay in a dark room and that is something I do not like doing. It was awful watching the slalom part of the combined on the television.

"But I have to learn to say no and I think that is something positive that has come from this experience."

(Editing by Clare Fallon)