The girl who would become Olympic downhill champion started skiing at the age of three with her father and grandfather on the gentle slopes of Minnesota. Little Lindsey competed in her first races at the age of seven, and when she was nine she took part in her first international competitions. Subsequently, world junior championships, world cups and her first good results opened the doors to being selected for the USA team for the 2002 Games.
In Salt Lake City, she finished sixth in the combined and 32nd in the slalom. Two years later, Lindsey asserted herself in the “cirque blanc”, stepping onto the downhill podium for the first time. The following season, the young woman obtained her first victory in the first downhill. A specialist in speed events, she also won her first points in the technical events, enabling her to aim for the World Cup general rankings.
In Turin in 2006, she had a bad fall during a training run and ended up in hospital. Despite the pain, she still managed to finish eighth in the Olympic downhill, seventh in the Super G and 14th in the slalom. In 2007, after two world silver medals, she was injured in the slalom and ended her season. She came back stronger than before, dominating the World Cup general rankings in 2008 and 2009, as well as the World Championships in 2009, with two titles, in downhill and Super G.
The year 2010 also promised to be auspicious, with five consecutive victories in downhill, alongside four other victories in Super G and combined. But misfortune struck! A week before the Vancouver Games, a fall injured Lindsey Vonn’s tibia and stopped her in her tracks. But she knew how to cope with it, and had no intention of leaving Canada without a medal. The postponement of the races because of bad weather allowed her to recover, and, on 17 February, she confidently launched herself through the starting gate for the downhill. On the very technical Franz’s Run course, she flaunted all her talent. This time, she did it – she became Olympic champion. The 2010 season ended on a high note, with her winning her third Crystal Globe in the general rankings.
Monday 19 January 2015 will henceforth and forever be regarded as one of the most important dates in the remarkable career of Lindsey Vonn. By registering her 21st super-G triumph on the Olympia delle Tofane course in Cortina d’Ampezzo (ITA), just one day after achieving her 32nd downhill win, the American skier broke Austrian legend Annemarie Moser-Pröll’s record of 62 FIS World Cup victories, set back in the 1970s. She had already equalled that record the previous day, but her latest win meant she could now claim to be the most successful women’s skier of all time, and she was understandably elated. “Aaaaaahhhhhh I did it!!! Today was awesome!” she exclaimed via her Twitter account.