Lindsey Vonn. Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics. From USATodaySports.


What does she do? Lindsey Vonn is one of the most decorated skiers in the world. She won a record eight World Cup season titles in downhill, five titles in super-G, and three consecutive titles in the combined. She is one of just six women to have won World Cup races in all five disciplines of alpine skiing—downhill, super-G, giant slalom, slalom, and super combined. She has the highest super ranking of all skiers—both men and women—and has won 81 World Cup races in her career.


Who is she? Vonn was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota and grew up in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. She began skiing at just two years old, moving into a renowned development program at a very young age. According to Erich Sailer, the program’s founder and coach, Vonn’s father pushed her very hard. At ten, Vonn met Olympic gold medalist and ski racer Picabo Street—her hero and role model. After several years of commuting to Colorado for ski training, she and her family moved to Vail in the late 1990s.


After climbing through the ranks of the U.S. Ski Team, Vonn made her World Cup debut in 2000. She was sixteen years old. Later, in 2002, Vonn had her Olympic debut at Salt Lake City games. She raced in both slalom and combined and, later in the year, earned a silver medal I downhill in the Junior World Championship. After several years of racing in and winning World Cup races, Vonn returned to the Olympics in 2006, clocking the second-best time in the first practice run. However, she crashed in the second training run and was evacuated by helicopter to be hospitalized overnight. However, she returned to the slopes and finished eighth, earning her the U.S. Olympic Spirit Award.


Why watch? Vonn hit her stride in the late 2000s and early 2010s, winning consecutive World Cup races and breaking several Olympic records. Though Vonn has said the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics will be her last, she is planning a return to the World Cup circuit. She wants to beat Ingemar Stenmark’s record of 86 World Cup victories.