by alison berkley | December 1, 2009 | People
Lindsey Vonn competes in the 2008 Aspen Winternational Women’s Alpine World Cup giant slalom.
Lindsey Vonn is hot. That much is obvious.
She’s also en fuego, ending last season as the greatest American female skier in history. The 25-year-old Vail local rocked the 2008 and 2009 World Cups: She competed in all five disciplines,
winning the downhill title both times, the Super G in 2009 and the overall title both years. She has the most World Cup victories (22) of any American woman. And she has won two World Championship gold medals, in downhill and Super G.
Vonn has that rare combination of beauty and talent that we thrive on, and the US has been waiting for an Olympic skier like her for a long time. She’s coming off the biggest winning
streak of not only her own career, but also any career in her sport.
“The Olympics are a good opportunity for me to show America who I am and what I represent and to be a good role model,” she says. “There’s a lot of pressure and expectations, but over the past couple of years, with the World Cup wins, I’ve learned that I can succeed under pressure.”
The only flaw in her dream-making season was a thumb tendon she severed on a cracked champagne bottle while celebrating one of her World Cup victories. Following surgery she competed in 13 more World Cup races; in those races she finished in the top three eight times, including five wins. Her Super G victory in Taraviso, Italy, was her 19th World Cup win, surpassing the former record set by Tamara McKinney in 1984.
“I just decided to spice things up,” she joked about the injury. “It was really tough pushing out of the starting gate, really painful. And having to duct tape my hand to the pole was frustrating.”
Vonn will visit Aspen for the 2009 Aspen Winternational Women’s FIS Alpine World Cup on November 28 and 29, competing in giant slalom and slalom during the only American stop on the World Cup tour. Last year in Aspen, while racing with a knee injury, Vonn finished fourth in both events. She has World Cup wins in all disciplines except giant slalom. “I’d like to scratch a GS podium off my ‘to do’ list before the Olympics,” she says.
What will the rest of the season bring? Vonn knows one thing for sure: “I won’t ever open another champagne bottle, not ever. I’ll only drink it if someone else pours it for me.”
photograph by jonathan selkowitz/red bull photofiles