Shin, schmin: Lindsey is Vonnderful as she dominates womens downhill

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VANCOUVER - Whether medical issue or mind game, the shin didn't much matter: in the end, Lindsey was Vonnderful.
The popular U.S. skiing star's injured right shin - revealed at the start of the Games and billed as a potential race-killer -wasn't a factor Wednesday as Vonn blazed to a gold medal during a bruising, crash-filled women's downhill.
American teammate Julia Mancuso took silver and Austria's Elisabeth Goergl the bronze after navigating a perilous downhill course that sent more than a few racers careening and cartwheeling, skis akimbo, into the netting.
Britt Janyk of Whistler was the top Canadian in sixth.
Canada had its share of struggles on Wednesday, but it was proving a marquee day for American fans.
In addition to Vonn's gold-medal performance, rock-star snowboarder Shaun White took to the skies over the massive half-pipe at Cypress Mountain, where extreme Olympic athletes are performing breathtaking tricks - and tempting fate.
"Everybody's watching, so when you get an injury, or you get somebody who goes down, or some big crashes, it really shocks people," said White, who specializes in an envelope-pushing stunt called the Double McTwist 1260.
"That's just a part of what we do. We fall, we get back up and we try it again."
Pulling huge airs off the towering, semi-circular ramp, White advanced directly to the medal round, while Canadian counterpart Justin Lamoureux of Ottawa, 33, was the only Canadian to make it to the semifinal.
Brad Martin, 23, of Ancaster, Ont., missed a jump on his first run and didn't score enough points on his second to move on, while 21-year-old Jeff Batchelor of Oakville, Ont., also failed to advance after falling on both his runs.
The American star power wasn't all on the mountain, however.
Political satirist Stephen Colbert, who has been poking fun at Canada for months on his TV show "The Colbert Report," was on hand to extend an olive branch to his hosts, whom he described as "friendly and very easy to pander to."
Canadian crooner Michael Buble and U.S. sports commentator Bob Costas sat in as guests for the instalment of the show Colbert - who once called Canadians "syrup-suckers" and "Saskatche-whiners" for denying U.S. speedskaters practice time - was filming Wednesday at the Richmond Olympic Oval and in a city park.
Wednesday wasn't all about the Americans.
Canada's women's hockey team handed their Swedish rivals 13-1 in front of an appreciative red-and-white crowd, and on the curling ice, Cheryl Bernard went two for two by upending Japan's Moe Meguro 7-6 in the second women's curling draw.
Bernard trailed 6-5 heading into the 10th end, but was able to score two with a takeout from her hammer, much to the delight of a boisterous hometown crowd.
At the cross-country course outside Whistler, Slovenian star Petra Majdic put on an inspirational performance, skiing through intense pain to a bronze medal after nearly breaking her ribs in a tumble down a three-metre embankment.
Majdic fell off an icy corner during the warmup, prompting a gasp from the crowd after she emerged clutching her side and wincing. Branislav Dmitrovic, a spokesman for the Slovenian team, called the corner "very fast and dangerous."
If Majdic's accident meant controversy about cross-country course conditions, it would surely be unwelcome news to Vancouver organizers, who continued to battle talk of Canada's "Glitch Games."
Workers spent the night on a rooftop viewing platform to help give the public a better look at the Olympic cauldron, which is located behind a controversial chain-link fence that's been moved closer to afford spectators a better from the street.
"The Olympic cauldron is a powerful symbol and the desire to get as close to it as possible has been remarkable - more than we expected," Games chief executive John Furlong said in a statement.
"We are pleased to provide enhanced opportunities for all to see the cauldron in its spectacular waterfront setting - at its best."
From alpine weather aggravations to cancelled tickets to the cauldron controversy, organizers have been plagued by everything from unco-operative snow conditions on the mountains to ice-resurfacing machines that do more damage than good.

Organizations: Richmond Olympic Oval

Geographic location: U.S., Canada, VANCOUVER Whistler Austria Cypress Mountain Ottawa Ancaster Oakville Japan

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