February 20, 2006
SAN SICARIO, Italy (AP by Bob Baum)—A banged-up Lindsey Kildow has come to accept that Italy is not where she'll ski her way to Olympic glory. Standing at the bottom of the super-G course where she had just finished a disappointing seventh Monday, the 21-year-old American was already thinking ahead to the Vancouver Olympics of 2010.
"I thought my destiny was going to be here, she said. "Maybe North America is my time to shine. All I can do is stay positive.
At last year's world championships _ also in Italy _ Kildow finished one spot out of the medals in both the downhill and the combined, then sobbed uncontrollably each time.
At these Winter Olympics, she was determined to medal, but a horrible training crash left her with back pain that skiing exacerbates. Nevertheless, Kildow refused to succumb to the emotional aches of failed expectations.
"You know, life doesn't end if you don't do well in one day. There are more opportunities, she said. "It's just that life's so short, you can't get so worked up over one day.
Kildow has no illusions about her chances in the last two women's Alpine events _ even healthy, she would be a longshot in Wednesday's slalom and even less of a threat in Friday's giant slalom.
Kildow arrived as the U.S. women's top skier. She had won two World Cup downhills this season and was ranked second in that event.
Her crash changed everything. Kildow was airlifted to a Turin hospital, where she spent the night, but two days later she was able to ski to a tie for eighth in the downhill, a performance praised for its courage and determination.
The pain persevered through the combined, where she fell on her second slalom run, and into Monday's super-G.
"I have this weird pocket of fluid in my back and it doesn't seem to want to go away, Kildow said. "If I keep doing therapy, I hope it will go away. I don't really know what else to do.
Still, Kildow thought her run in Monday's super-G was a lot faster than it turned out to be. She ended up .36 seconds out of a medal.
"I skied the best that I could, she said. "I thought I had a pretty much perfect run, but I guess luck just wasn't on my side today.
Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press