Lindsey Vonn Puts Faith In Cheeses, Wins Gold

Lindsey Vonn was badly bruised;
Her shin was black and blue.
But these are the Olympic Games–
Whatever would she do?
Some athletes rub on emu fat;
For some, placenta pleases–
But Lindsey Vonn’s a different sort:
She put her faith in cheeses.

She could not race until she healed;
Her hopes would all be lost,
And so went where cheese is priced
To calculate the cost.
She found some at the marketplace
And bought a couple tins,
To make a Topfen poultice
For forgiveness for her shins.

By all accounts, her injury
Was really rather vicious–
But thanks to cheeses, once again
Her legs are just delicious.
Apparently, for Austrians,
This cure is very old–
My guess is we’ll see more like this,
Since Lindsey got her Gold!


My guess is, if you follow the Olympic Games at all, you already know about Lindsey Vonn’s injury. It was her great good fortune that the weather caused a series of delays, giving her shin time to heal, at least a bit. During that time, she used some laser therapy, massage, painkillers, and now we hear, a poultice made of cheese.

After injuring her shin in Austria during training, American downhill skier Lindsey Vonn did what Austrian skiers do: She wrapped topfen cheese curd around her swollen right leg in hopes of reducing the swelling.

Whether or not the cheese helped her recover enough to win an Olympic gold medal Wednesday, the Austrian curd remains obscure.

Many gourmet cheesemongers aren’t familiar with the semisoft cream cheese-like fromage, and sports medicine experts certainly aren’t rushing out to prescribe it to injured patients.

Top athletes are often superstitious (having had a lot of success, they have had a lot of opportunity to falsely correlate that success with a lucky object, routine, or ritual); it is no surprise that, having had plenty of opportunity to recover from injury, athletes are prone to some pretty strange cures as well:

When orthopedic surgeon Dr. John Benjamin heard that Vonn had spread cheese on her hurt shin, he said he chuckled. “It’s a curious use for a dairy product, and I have not heard reports of great success,” he says.

Other curious treatments for sports injuries have ranged from rubbing placenta juice into a bad hamstring as Serbian soccer player Danko Lazovic reportedly did, according to the AP, and using the fat of an emu as a rub for pain and swelling.

You may also remember, if you followed this in the news, that Ms. Vonn initially suspected that her leg might be broken, but refused X-rays to confirm her suspicion. She was “putting her fingers in her ears” and refusing to consider the possibility that she would spend the Olympic Games with her leg in a cast, because of a broken shin.

Maybe it was denial and fear, but my hope is that her refusal to X-ray, her refusal to have her leg in plaster, came from her innate determination, her perseverance, her guts, her metaphorical cojones. I picture her telling her doctor “let he who is without stones cast the first shin. I’m putting my faith in cheeses.”


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