By Kevin Fylan
VANCOUVER (Reuters) - American Lindsey Vonn, the overwhelming favorite for the blue riband women's downhill gold in Vancouver, said on Wednesday she was a doubtful starter for the Winter Olympics because of a shin injury.
"I was feeling great, healthy ... and now I'm questioning whether I'll be able to ski," the 25-year-old told a news conference.
Vonn said she had suffered an "excruciatingly painful" shin injury while training in Austria last week, a setback that had destroyed the buoyant mood created by her outstanding World Cup season.
"It is the most painful injury I have ever had," said Vonn, whose medal hopes at the last Winter Olympics in Turin were wrecked by a training crash. "It's going to be very challenging and difficult.
"It's hard to stay positive... This has changed my whole perspective."
Vonn said she had yet to take any pain medication for the injury, and stressed that she still had hopes of becoming an Olympic champion for the first time.
Vonn has been in a class of her own in the speed events this season, winning eight of the 11 World super-Gs and downhills contested so far.
As well as the downhill, Vonn was also regarded as a favorite for the super-combined and a medal contender in the two technical events, the slalom and giant slalom.
"I still don't know," she said. "I could compete in all the training runs, one or none of them.
"We still have a few days. We'll see how it is tomorrow.
"I'm still going to do the best I can and if I don't do well, so be it.
"I can assure you that when I'm at the starting gate I'll be out there to win."
She then corrected herself: "If I'm at the starting gate."
(Editing by Miles Evans)