Lindsey Vonn is an American World Cup alpine ski racer on the US Ski Team. She has won four World Cup championships with three consecutive titles in 2008, 2009 and 2010, plus another in 2012. Vonn won the gold medal in downhill at the 2010 Winter Olympics, the first ever in the event for an American woman. She has also won seven World Cup season titles in the downhill discipline, five titles in super-G, and three consecutive titles in the combined. Vonn is one of six women to have won World Cup races in all five disciplines of alpine skiing – downhill, super-G, giant slalom, slalom, and super combined – and has won 67 World Cup races in her career. The 67 World Cup victories are an all-time women's record. With her Olympic gold and bronze medals, two World Championship gold medals in 2009 (plus three silver medals in 2007 and 2011), and four overall World Cup titles, Vonn has become the most successful American ski racer in history.
Lindsey Vonn is recovering from a broken ankle. That hasn’t stopped the 2010 Olympic downhill champion from training, whether that means gutting out abworkouts with a boot on in the sunshine or lifting weights in a gym.
Think you work out a lot? After you hear about Lindsey Vonn’s offseason training schedule, you’re going to rethink that.
On the November day last year when Vail opened for the winter season, the base area was a swarm of skiers and snowboarders, a mass that swelled with the approach of a tall, 25-year-old blonde carrying ski boots and poles.
It’s not unusual for Lindsey to be in the gym at 6am, carefully warming up in preparation for the stresses which the body will soon have to deal with. “Lindsey is driven by winning,” says Trenkwalder, “which on the one hand is reflected in extremely professional self-discipline. On the other hand, she wants to give one hundred percent every time, all of the time.
Unfortunately it can result in her crashing out and injuring herself unnecessarily.” But this year Lindsey had her ambition well under control. Combined with “so it appeared at the time” the form of her life, Lindsey won the Super Combination in St. Anton and five downhill races. The one in Lake Louise, of course, as well as the brutal test of courage in St. Anton and the classics in Cortina, Sestriere and Crans Montana. The series of victories not only garnered her the top rung in the downhill World Cup but also fulfilled her childhood dream: her first victory in the Overall World Cup.
Accompanied by Red Bull’s Athletes Special Projects team and the speed coaches of the US ski team, such as Alex Hoedlmoser, Lindsey, by now Lindsey Vonn, has her sights firmly set on one ambitious goal: to become an all-round winner. Whereas her peers tend to specialize in one or two disciplines, Lindsey racked up nine wins and 16 podiums in four disciplines this year. She bagged her maiden Slalom victory in Levi, comfortably winning the Overall World Cup, the Downhill and the Super-G World Cup at the end of the season. But her record in the other disciplines was also impressive this season: in the World Cup super-combined she finished second, finishing third in the World Cup Slalom and eighth in the World Cup Giant Slalom. By contrast, the World Championships in Val d’Isere would turn out to be an emotional roller coaster: Lindsey won Gold in the Downhill and Super-G, but seriously injured herself on a broken champagne bottle during the victory celebrations. Red Bull ASP flew Lindsey to Innsbruck by private jet, where she underwent tendon surgery and was fitted with a splint. But her World Championship chance had come and gone: Lindsey had to skip the Giant Slalom, and after sensationally clocking the second-fastest time in the Slalom she skied out in the second run. She had already been disqualified from the super-combined for splitting a gate. Infuriating, yes. But perhaps it will give Lindsey an extra push ahead of the forthcoming season, especially with the next major event with medals up for grabs being the Olympic Games in Whistler – which has always been Lindsey’s long-term goal. “I’ll be training harder than ever for this season,” she announces. “Cause if you work hard,” she says, “it will pay off in the end.” Those plans delivered an even more successful season in 2009/10. Lindsey’s 33rd World Cup win came in the Super G in Garmisch, helping Lindsey to surpass Bode Miller’s record for most World Cup victories by a US skier. The win also wrapped up her third consecutive overall title, and she became the first American skier to win three discipline titles in a single season. To top it all, Lindsey became the first American woman to win Olympic gold in the Downhill at the 2010 Vancouver Games. She also netted bronze in the Super G.
This avalanche of victories continues. In 2011, Lindsey again took the Downhill, Combined and Super G titles, only narrowly missing out on a fourth overall World Cup title. After clawing back her friend Maria Reisch’s massive lead it went down to the wire. But poor weather conditions at the season’s finale in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, meant Maria nabbed the title. Lindsey claimed another silver in the Downhill at the 2011 World Championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
As a measure of Lindsey’s impact on international sport, she was named Laureus World Sports Awards Sportswoman of the Year 2010, as well as the 2010 and 2011 ESPY awards. But all these medals and gongs pale into insignificance next to one particular achievement – as one of the few truly recognisable faces in skiing Lindsey bagged a part in her favourite TV show, Law & Order.
Still in her mid-20s and with the skills to match her determination, Lindsey is sure to leave a few other new entries in the sporting world’s record books.
At the start of the 2011-12 season in Sölden, Lindsey finally realized one of her biggest goals: winning a Giant Slalom. Only four other female skiing legends (Janica Kostelic, Anja Paerson, Pernilla Wiberg and Petra Kronberger) have triumphed in all five disciplines.
That’s not all. Despite private worries after her divorce from her husband, Lindsey also surpassed Renate Götschl’s Super G record with 18 victories and took the Austrian’s place in the rankings for most female World Cup wins. In the 2011-12 season, Lindsey won 12 races to take her third with 53 victories. She’s now closing on Vreni Schneider (55 wins) and Annemarie Moser Pröll (62 wins).
In a fruitful season for Lindsey, she clinched her fourth overall victory (beating Tina Maze by an astonishing 578 points) as well as titles in Downhill, Super G and Super Combined. In total, Lindsey has now won 16 crystal globes.
Finally, at the World Cup finals in Schladming, Lindsey surpassed Janica Kostelic’s benchmark by scoring 1,980 points in one season, setting yet another new women’s record.
If 2011/12 is anything to go by, it looks like the first lady of alpine skiing will reign for a few years yet.