HASTINGS, Minn. -- An Olympic athlete with Minnesota roots is getting the support of her state as she's dealing with a potential Games-ending injury.
On Wednesday, U.S. Alpine ski racer Lindsey Vonn said she's suffering from a painful injury to her lower leg. She does not know if she'll be able to compete in the Olympic Games, scheduled to begin on Friday.
Later that day, the Afton Team at Afton Alps Ski Hill worried about their "hero's" injury and whether the Games will begin without her.
"I was freaking out. I was really mad and sad," said Emily Nash, 11, about learning of Vonn's leg injury.
Nash and her other teammates, Julianna Damberg, 12, Kate Hanson, 13, and Skye Sonnega, 10, all refer to Vonn as their "role model."
"I just want her to get better and keep skiing," Hanson said.
But doctors warn continuing to ski for Vonn may take more than pain tolerance. Depending on the severity and size of the bruise, Vonn may not be able to compete.
"If you can imagine the forces that are transmitted across the leg when you're going that fast, even a bruise can be very painful. It may make her ultra-careful in what she does," said Dr. Paul Damrow, an orthopedic surgeon at Park Nicollet.
But one of Vonn's former coaches said he expects Vonn will pull through this injury, just as she's persevered through devastating injuries in the past.
"Knowing Lindsey, she's very tough, mentally," said Tony Olin, who helped coach Vonn from age 7 to 12.
"She wouldn't have gotten to where she's gotten without some tenacity and determination and discipline," Olin said.