Who Is Lindsey Vonn?
Born in Minnesota in 1984, skier Lindsey Vonn started racing at age 7 and won Italy's Trofeo Topolino at age 14. She snagged the first of four World Cup overall championships in 2008, and added titles in the downhill, Super G and combined to surpass Annemarie Moser-Pröll's record of 62 World Cup wins. Additionally, she claimed a gold medal in the downhill at the 2010 Winter Olympics. After injuries forced her to miss the 2014 Winter Games, Vonn embarked on an impressive comeback, eventually earning a bronze medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. She retired in February 2019 with 82 career World Cup wins.
Born Lindsey Caroline Kildow on October 18, 1984, in St. Paul, Minnesota, Lindsey Vonn became one of the world's top skiers. Growing up in Minnesota with her four siblings, Vonn began her ascent to sports stardom as a toddler, when her father, former competitive skier Alan Kildow, first put her on skis.
Vonn trained locally with coach Erich Sailer before moving to Vail, Colorado, in the late 1990s. In 1999, the 14-year-old made history when she won the slalom at Trofeo Topolino in Italy, becoming the first American woman to attain the honor.
Vonn excelled as a junior competitor over the next few years and was named to Team USA for the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. The following year, she won a silver medal at the Junior World Championship.
Leading Female Skier
In 2005, Vonn signed with Red Bull and began working with a new coaching team. Around this time, she wrote on her website: "I had a feeling this was going to be my big chance."
Vonn had high hopes for the 2006 Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, but during a practice run, she had a terrible accident and ended up in the hospital. She still competed, however, coming in seventh in the Super G and eighth in the downhill events.
Vonn made an impressive comeback the following year, winning silver medals in the downhill and the Super G at the 2007 World Championships in Sweden. The following year, she began her run of three consecutive World Cup overall championships.
2010 Olympic Gold Medalist
In 2010, Vonn got the chance to fulfill a lifelong dream by winning a gold medal in the downhill and a bronze in the Super G at the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada.
Vonn also continued to dominate outside of the Olympics, winning three consecutive titles in the combined event, from 2010 to 2012, as well as her fourth overall championship, in 2012.
Injuries and 2014 Winter Olympics
On February 5, 2013, Vonn endured a horrific crash at the World Championships in Austria. Diagnosed with ACL and MCL tears and a fractured lateral tibial plateau, she underwent reconstructive knee surgery and embarked on a lengthy recovery.
Back on the slopes at a training camp in August, all seemed well, as Vonn stated that her injured right knee felt as good as her left. She aggravated some of her injuries while training in November, before returning to compete the following month at Lake Louise, Alberta.
Two weeks later, Vonn removed herself from a World Cup downhill competition in Val d'lsere, France, after her MCL was sprained. The sprain, in addition to her torn ACL, forced her to announce that she would not compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Comeback and 2018 Winter Olympics
Vonn clawed her way back into elite form over the next couple of seasons, winning her seventh downhill title and her fifth Super G in 2015. Along the way, she claimed her 63rd World Cup win to surpass Austria's Annemarie Moser-Pröll for most by a woman, leaving only Sweden's Ingemar Stenmark in front with his 86 victories.
Heading into the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, Vonn seemed to be in fine form with three straight downhill wins. She delivered a solid run in her debut event, the Super G, but made a late mistake that led to a sixth-place finish.
A few days later, Vonn outraced all but two of her younger competitors in the downhill, making her the third American alpine skier to win three Olympic medals and the oldest woman to medal in an alpine event.
"I won the bronze medal but I feel like I’ve won the gold medal," said Vonn, reflecting on her journey and perseverance through all the injuries. "I’m so thankful to be here and to be on an Olympic podium with the next generation of my sport."
Vonn endured another crash in November 2018, leading to six weeks of rehabilitation. Still in pain, she attempted to compete in an event in Italy in January 2019, before announcing that she would be retiring after the World Championships in February.
Vonn went down hard once again in her first World Championship event, the Super G, but she recovered in time to claim a bronze in the downhill, the final race of her career. The showing made her the first female skier to medal at six separate World Championships, and she finished with an impressive record of 82 World Cup wins to her name.
Vonn was married to former competitive skier Thomas Vonn from 2007 to 2011.
She made headlines in 2012 with reports that she was dating American golf superstar Tiger Woods. The pair went public with their romance in March 2013, but they announced their breakup in May 2015 due to their busy schedules.
In summer 2019, a few months after her retirement, Vonn got engaged to professional hockey player P.K. Subban. The pair split in December 2020.
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