October 1, 2014

Vonn stopped skiing for 10 months after she injured her knee and broke a lower leg bone in Austria.     Photo: Alexis Boichard/Getty Sports

Lindsey Vonn Skis Again

Olympic star begins comeback in Austria

After a 10-month of absence from the sport and a year and a half after a career-threatening tumble, two-time Olympic medalist Lindsey Vonn will be taking a gentle run on an alpine training area in Austria on Wednesday.

“One step at a time, but yeah, I’m excited to get back out there and to come back,” Vonn told the New York Times. “And I will be back.”

In February 2013, Vonn was airlifted out of the ski area in Schladming, Austria, when she tore two ligaments in her right knee and broke a bone in her lower leg during the super-G event at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. The fiercely competitive Vonn was nevertheless back in competition a mere 10 months later for the World Cup downhill, where a conservative approach left her finishing 40th of 60 starters. “I was expecting a lot more, but that’s just who I am,” Vonn told the Associated Press. “I hope to win every race I enter. It’s just not that simple.”

Then, in November 2013, Vonn crashed and ruptured her surgically rebuilt anterior cruciate ligament during a high-speed training exercise in France. She ruefully gave up her hopes to compete in the Sochi Winter Olympics in January. 

Speaking to reporters this week, the Vail, Colorado-based skier told reporters she was determined to enter the 2018 games in South Korea. That would be her fourth Olympics. ““I’ll only be 33 years old,” Vonn told the Times. “People wonder if my body will hold up. I’m very confident it will.” 

Under the guidance of Pascal Hasler, who joined the U.S. ski team as an assistant coach in 2013, Vonn says she will concentrate her efforts on the speed races and the super-G.

“I need to have another chance to defend my Olympic gold medal in the downhill,” she told the Times. “I knew that in January as soon as I mentally accepted that I couldn’t race in the Sochi Olympics. I want another chance to compete.”

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The King fire is now 94 percent contained. Officials anticipate full containment by the weekend.     Photo: nathanphoto/Thinkstock

Forest Service Reopens Areas Affected by King Fire

Some locations still closed as blaze winds down

The National Forest Service has begun reopening areas of the Sierra closed by the King fire, which has burned almost 100,000 acres west of Sacramento since September 13, according to the Sacramento Bee.

The fire is now 94 percent contained. A rainy four days aided firefighters in halting the spread of the fire, according to the Los Angeles Times. More than 2,000 firefighters and support personnel are still working on the fire, down from nearly 8,000. Fire officials now anticipate full containment by this weekend, according to a Cal Fire report issued on Tuesday.

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Thailand's Tourism and Sports minister said the ID wristbands would help tourists get assistance easily if they need it.     Photo: tupungato/Thinkstock

Thailand May Make Tourists Wear Wristbands

Would help track drunk and lost visitors

Thailand’s tourism minister is batting around the idea of making tourists wear identification wristbands when they visit. The concept comes amid concerns over tourist safety, prompted by the murder of two British backpackers in September.

Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, were killed on the island of Koh Tao, and their bodies were found on September 15. Police have no leads on suspects so far. 

Tourism and Sports minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul told Reuters that she had brought up the idea to several hotels of handing out ID wristbands so they can keep track of tourists who may get in trouble. 

“When tourists check into a hotel, they will be given a wristband with a serial number that matches their ID and shows the contact details of the resort they are staying in, so if they’re out partying late and, for example, get drunk or lost, they can be easily assisted,” Kobkarn told Reuters. “The next step would be some sort of electronic tracking device, but this has not yet been discussed in detail.” 

Kobkarn’s idea has met with some resistance, and she told Reuters that while most people are receptive, hotels are concerned that tourists will not want to wear the wristbands.

Other ideas are organizing a buddy system that would pair tourists with a “local minder” at tourist spots, putting a cap on party hours on some of the country’s islands, and imposing restrictions on where beach parties can be held. 

Thai authorities have tried other tourist safety measures in the past. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, after a murder in 2008, a former tourism minister said that female tourists would be given emergency whistles.

Tourism accounts for nearly 10 percent of Thailand’s GDP, and the sector has recently taken a hit due to a military coup, violent street protests, and the murders.

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