|— Alpine skier —|
Vonn in April 2010
|Disciplines||Downhill, super-G, giant slalom, slalom, combined|
October 18, 1984 |
Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|World Cup debut||November 18, 2000
|Teams||3 – (2002, 2006, 2010)|
|Medals||2 (1 gold)|
|Teams||5 – (2005–13)|
|Medals||5 (2 gold)|
|Seasons||13th – (2002, 2004–15)|
|Overall titles||4 – (2008–10, 2012)|
|Discipline titles||13 – (6 DH, 4 SG, 3 KB)|
Lindsey Caroline Vonn (née Kildow; born October 18, 1984) is an American World Cup alpine ski racer on the United States Ski Team. She has won four World Cup championships—one of two female skiers to do so, along with Annemarie Moser-Pröll—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 six consecutive World Cup season titles in the downhill discipline (2008–2013), four consecutive titles in super-G (2009–2012), and three consecutive titles in the combined (2010–2012).
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 64 World Cup races in her career through January 2015. The 64 World Cup victories are an all-time women's record, passing Annemarie Moser-Pröll of Austria who had held the record since the 1970s, and only Ingemar Stenmark of Sweden with 86 World Cup victories has more. 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.
Born Lindsey Caroline Kildow in Saint Paul, Minnesota, she is the daughter of Linda Anne (née Krohn) and Alan Lee Kildow. She grew up in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, in Burnsville, Minnesota. Vonn was on skis at age two, before moving into Erich Sailer's renowned development program at Burnsville's Buck Hill, which also produced slalom racer Kristina Koznick. Her father, who had won a national junior title before a knee injury at 18, "pushed" her very hard, according to Sailer.
When Vonn was 10 years old, she met Olympic gold medalist ski racer Picabo Street, whom she considers her heroine and role model. Their meeting made such an impression on Street that she remembered the meeting and later served as Vonn's mentor in skiing. Vonn commuted to Colorado to train for several years before her family moved to Vail, Colorado, in the late 1990s.
Vonn began her skiing career as a child locally in Burnsville, Minnesota at Buck Hill Ski and Snowboard, and through family vacations that included 16-hour drives from Minnesota to Vail. “I would be in the back under a sleeping bag, and she’d be driving and singing along to some Eric Clapton tape,” Vonn said in a recent interview. When Lindsey was 7, she skied in Minnesota, Colorado, and Oregon year-round. When skiing in Colorado, Vonn attended lessons at Ski Club Vail, a racing program that, at the time, taught skiers from ages 6 and up.
When Vonn was 11, she and her mother permanently moved to Colorado for the winter to train exclusively at Ski Club Vail. Her two brothers and two sisters remained in Minnesota with their father, a litigation lawyer. Lindsey and her mother lived in a rented two-bedroom condo, and Lindsey was home-schooled. “Vail was wonderful to me,” Vonn says, “but I missed all the traditional things of childhood — sleepovers, school dances, making friends in a conventional way. Halfway through the second season, the rest of the family also moved to Vail. Now all my brothers and sisters had left their friends for me. That was stressful on them. I felt so guilty.”
In her Olympic debut at the 2002 Winter Olympics at age 17, Vonn raced in both slalom and combined in Salt Lake City, with her best result coming with sixth in combined. On March 4, 2003, she earned a silver medal in downhill in the Junior World Championship at Puy Saint-Vincent, France.
Vonn credits a change in her attitude toward training after a bike ride with fellow ski racer Julia Mancuso and Mancuso's father Ciro while Vonn visited them at their Lake Tahoe home in California. With little biking experience, she quickly found herself miles behind Julia and Ciro. Alone and embarrassed, she decided she needed drastic revision of her training regimen and her attitude toward training if she was going to be successful.
On March 24, 2004, Vonn was the downhill silver medalist at the U.S. Alpine Championships at Mt. Alyeska Resort, Girdwood, Alaska. Earlier that year 2004, Vonn climbed on to the World Cup podium for the first time with a third place finish in downhill in January 2004 at Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy prior to her maiden victory in that specialty at Lake Louise, Alberta in December 2004. She captured five more World Cup podiums over the next two months.
In 2005, she competed in four races at her first World Championships held in Bormio, Italy, pulling in fourth place finishes in both the downhill and the combined. She was ninth in super-G, but failed to finish the giant slalom. She cited the unexpected appearance of her father, with whom she has a strained relationship, for rattling her before the event.
At her second Winter Olympics in 2006, Vonn clocked the second best time in the first practice run yet crashed in the second training run for the downhill race on February 13, 2006, in San Sicario, Italy; she was evacuated by helicopter to Turin and was hospitalized overnight. Despite a bruised hip and strong pains, she returned on the slope two days later to compete and finished eighth. The gritty performance earned her the U.S. Olympic Spirit Award, as voted by American fans, fellow Team USA athletes, former U.S. Olympians, and members of the media for best representing the Olympic Spirit.
Vonn earned her first "big race" medals with silver in both downhill and super-G at the 2007 World Championships in Åre, Sweden. A training crash before the slalom caused her a low-level ACL sprain to her right knee, ending her season four weeks early. Nevertheless, she finished third for the season in the women's 2007 World Cup disciplines of downhill and super-G.
In 2008, Lindsey Vonn won the overall World Cup title. She became the second American woman to do so, following Tamara McKinney in 1983. American Bode Miller won the men's title to complete the first U.S. sweep of the men's and women's overall titles in 25 years (McKinney and Phil Mahre in 1983). She also won the World Cup season title in the downhill and the U.S. Alpine Championships combined title (downhill & slalom), marking her best ski season to date. Vonn also established a new all-time record for most World Cup downhill victories by an American with ten, winning at Crans-Montana, Switzerland, on March 8.
In 2009, Vonn repeated as overall World Cup champion, as well as repeating as champion in the downhill and also winning the season championship in super-G by winning the final race of the season. During the season, she broke Tamara McKinney's American record of 18 World Cup victories when she won the super-G at Tarvisio in February. Her nine World Cup wins also set an American single-season record, surpassing Phil Mahre's total of eight in 1982. At the 2009 World Championships in Val-d'Isère, France, Vonn won her first world championship and became the first American woman to win the world super-G title. In the super combined event, she won the downhill portion and had appeared to have finished second in the event with a strong slalom performance, but was disqualified for splitting a gate. Three days later she won the gold in the downhill. During early 2009, she appeared in Alka-Seltzer television commercials in the United States as support for the United States Ski Team. During the summer of 2009, Vonn switched her equipment sponsor and supplier to Head skis, after previously racing her entire career on Rossignol skis. In October 2009, Vonn was awarded the Skieur d'Or Award by members of the International Association of Ski Journalists for her performances during the previous season.
In December 2009, Vonn sustained a bruised arm after a crash during the opening run of the World Cup giant slalom. She continued racing as there was no fracture that would prevent her return and run at the Olympic Games in Vancouver. Despite skiing with her arm in a brace due to the injury, Vonn won three straight races (two downhills and a super-G) in Haus im Ennstal, Austria from January 8–10, 2010. The wins raised her to second among American skiers on the all-time career list for World Cup wins with 28, passing Phil Mahre and trailing only Bode Miller. On January 14, 2010, Lindsey Vonn was named Colorado Athlete of the Year for 2009. With her victory in a super-G just prior to the 2010 Winter Olympics, she clinched her second straight super-G discipline title with two races still to go. Vonn ended up also winning the overall title, as well as the discipline titles in downhill, super-G and combined, and by winning the last super-G of the season, she boosted her overall World Cup victory total to 33, surpassing Bode Miller for the most World Cup victories by an American. The third consecutive overall World Cup title also equals Phil Mahre's American record and makes Vonn the third woman to achieve it, behind Petra Kronberger with 3 straight and Annemarie Moser-Pröll with 5 straight. Vonn was also named by the Associated Press as 2010 Female Athlete of the Year.
At the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010, Vonn planned to compete in all five women's alpine events. On February 10, she revealed she had severely bruised her shin in training the previous week. Vonn said the pain from her injury was "excruciating" and she would have a difficult time competing at the Winter Olympics. Due to unseasonably warm weather and resultant poor snow conditions, many of the Alpine skiing events were moved back, giving Vonn additional time to heal. On February 17, in her first event, Vonn won the gold medal in the downhill at Whistler Blackcomb, beating longtime U.S. rival Julia Mancuso by 0.56 seconds and becoming the first American woman to win Olympic gold in downhill.
In her second event, the super combined, Vonn finished first in the downhill portion of the race. In the slalom portion, however, she crashed when she failed to get her ski around a right-hand gate. Vonn said her shin wasn't the problem. Vonn's friend Maria Riesch won the gold, and teammate Julia Mancuso earned the silver medal.
In her third event, the super-G, Vonn finished third behind Andrea Fischbacher and Tina Maze, 0.74 seconds behind Fischbacher's winning time. Afterwards, Vonn said she didn't ski the last part of the course as aggressively as she could have and lost the race as a result. After the race, Vonn's husband Thomas, said the course was deliberately set up against Vonn. Austrian coach Jürgen Kriechbaum denied any wrongdoing.[dead link].
In her fourth event, the giant slalom, fog affected visibility. Vonn crashed in her first run, resulting in a broken fourth finger and Vonn's disqualification from the event.[dead link] In her fifth event, the slalom, Vonn lost control and straddled a gate, disqualifying her from the event.
After three consecutive overall World Cups, in 2011 Vonn faced more serious competition – from her best friend among the World Cup skiers, Maria Riesch of Germany. Riesch had a strong start to the season by winning two downhills in Lake Louise, where Vonn previously had seven victories. Although Vonn placed on the podium in every speed race, she failed to finish in several slaloms. Riesch had five podiums in the first six slaloms and was significantly ahead in the overall ranking by the end of January.
The World Cup season was interrupted by the 2011 World Championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, where Vonn suffered from a concussion she acquired during training one week earlier. She started in two events and achieved a seventh place in super-G and a silver medal in downhill.
Back to World Cup and healthy again, Vonn attained an impressive series of results: being ahead of Riesch in most of the races (including a giant slalom she finished third, her best career result in GS until then), she took the overall lead for the first time all season after the downhill event of the World Cup finals in Lenzerheide. The super-G was cancelled due to poor weather conditions, and after the slalom Riesch regained the overall lead by a margin of 3 points. When the giant slalom was also cancelled due to weather, Riesch became the 2011 overall champion.
Vonn won her fourth Overall World Cup Title in 2012. The season opened in October in Sölden, Austria, where Vonn won her first giant slalom. This made Vonn the 6th woman to have won all events at least once.
On December 2–4, 2011, she won all three races in Lake Louise (two downhills, one super-G) for her second career 'hat trick', and with her eleventh win at Lake Louise she surpassed Renate Götschl's record for most career wins at a single resort (ten in Cortina d'Ampezzo). On December 7, 2011, Vonn notched her first World Cup victory on U.S. snow, at Beaver Creek, Colorado. Due to a lack of snow in France, its super-G was rescheduled in advance for a Wednesday on the Birds of Prey course. Her limited success on U.S. snow is primarily due to a lack of speed events; only three have been run in the U.S. during her career. It was the first home win by an American woman in 17 years, since Hilary Lindh of Alaska won the downhill in nearby Vail in December 1994.
With further victories in January 2012, she overtook Renate Götschl to become the third most successful female World Cup racer in terms of victories.
On February 4, 2012, Vonn achieved her fiftieth World Cup victory on the Kandahar downhill course at Garmisch, Germany. The win also gave her 25 career downhill victories, surpassing Götschl for second most career DH wins. With a podium finish in Russia on February 18, 2012 Vonn clinched the season title in downhill, her fifth consecutive in that discipline.
Vonn's expressed disappointment that she missed the FIS Alpine Record for 2,000 points in a season by 20 points. In her final race of the season at Schladming, Austria, she was not able to improve on her first giant slalom run after losing her pole at the starting gate. Her 24th finish at Schladming led to her loss of a potential 20-plus points for her season record. "It was possible to get those 20 points, I was in a good position...If you work so hard to reach your goal but you lose your pole in the very last run, that's hard to take. It will give me even more motivation for next season", commented Vonn after the race.
Vonn got off to a slow start in the 2013 season, slowed by illness with marginal results in giant slalom and skipping a pair of slalom races in November 2012. She came back quickly once the speed events started, again sweeping all three races in Lake Louise from November 30 to December 2 (two downhills, one super-G) for her third career 'hat trick', and increasing her record for most career wins at a single resort to 14. The three wins increased her career total to 56, moving her past Vreni Schneider into second place all-time among women behind Annemarie Moser-Pröll with 62.
After some disappointing results, Vonn announced her decision on December 17 to take a break from the World Cup circuit to fully recover from her earlier illness. She returned and finished in 6th place on January 6 in her first downhill race since her break. Two weeks later she won the downhill in Cortina d'Ampezzo and week later won the giant slalom in Maribor, Slovenia.
At the first race of the 2013 World Championships in Schladming, Austria, Vonn crashed in the super-G and was airlifted to a nearby hospital. She tore her anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in her right knee, with a tibial plateau fracture. Vonn said she would be ready for the 2014 Winter Olympics despite her injury.
Before her season ending crash on February 5 in Schladming, Vonn led in the World Cup downhill standings with 340 points. Several were within reach of taking the title during her absence from the tour. Overall champion Tina Maze, who trailed Vonn by more than a hundred points, took a 4th place finish in Méribel and a won in Garmisch to close the gap to a single point with one race remaining at the World Cup finals in Lenzerheide. Weather conditions were in Vonn's favor, as officials canceled the race after numerous delays due to a thick fog on the lower section. As a result, she won her sixth downhill season title despite not competing in a downhill since mid-January.
Vonn traveled to Austria for the first race of the 2014 Alpine Skiing World Cup, but ultimately decided not to compete during the first weekend. She announced plans to return to competition in late November. On November 20, 2013, Vonn re-injured her right knee straining it and partially tearing her right ACL after a crash during training. She returned to competition on December 6, finishing 40th the first of two downhill races in Lake Louise, Canada, then 11th in the second downhill on December 7, followed by a 5th place in the super-G on December 8. In December, she said of her preparation for the 2014 Winter Olympics that "I'm going to play it safe and race minimal races, so I can get the confidence and the timing and the feeling of racing again. I'm really going to be safe and smart as I can."
On January 7, 2014, Vonn announced that she would not compete in the Sochi 2014 Winter Games because of reinjuring her right knee on December 21, 2013, while skiing in France. "I am devastated to announce that I will not be able to compete in Sochi. I did everything I possibly could to somehow get strong enough to overcome having no ACL but the reality has sunk in that my knee is just too unstable to compete at this level. I'm having surgery soon so that I can be ready for the World Championships at home in Vail next February. On a positive note, this means there will be an additional spot so that one of my teammates can go for gold. Thank you all so much for all of the love and support. I will be cheering for all of the Olympians and especially team USA!"  ESPN posted a reference to her announcement, a few hours after Lindsey wrote the aforementioned on her Facebook page.
Despite a recent injury, Lindsey was featured in a one-hour television special on NBC titled How to Raise an Olympian which aired on Wednesday, February 5, 2014. The program, hosted by NBC News's Meredith Vieira, chronicles the journeys of seven U.S. Olympians and features interviews from parents and coaches along with home video and photos from each athlete's childhood. The event will be broadcast on television with live social-media components to enhance each segment. During the 2014 Winter Olympic Games Vonn was also a correspondent for NBC News appearing on Today.
Vonn has enjoyed a significant amount of media attention for an alpine skier, making her the face of her sport in the US. She has appeared on The Today Show, Access Hollywood, and The Late Show with David Letterman and has picked up endorsements from notable companies such as Head, Oakley, Red Bull, Rolex, and Under Armour. Her assets were estimated to be worth over 2.5 million dollars, even in 2010.
Vonn married fellow 2002 Olympian and former U.S. Ski Team athlete Thomas Vonn on September 29, 2007, at the Silver Lake Lodge in Deer Valley, Utah. In November 2011 the couple announced initiation of divorce proceedings after four years of marriage. The divorce was finalized on January 9, 2013.
Vonn frequently stays at the home of her friend and major competitor, Maria Höfl-Riesch, in Garmisch, Germany. Traditionally, Lindsey and Thomas Vonn spent Christmas Eve at the Riesch family home; Lindsey Vonn is fluent in German (including Austro-Bavarian). During the off-season, Lindsey Vonn resides in Vail, Colorado. The most unusual of Vonn's trophies also lives in Kirchberg—Olympe the cow. Vonn won the oversized pet in 2005 in Val-d'Isère. Vonn's nicknames are "Kildon", "Don Don" and "The Don." Her hobbies include cycling, tennis, reading, and watching NBC's Law & Order. Vonn appeared as a guest star in the final series episode ("Rubber Room") of Law & Order on May 24, 2010.
In the midst of her public appearances, Vonn says training takes up most of her life except for a few weeks after the ski season. Vonn trains 6–8 hours a day for 6 days a week during the summer. She incorporates endurance cycling, tight-rope walking, and reaction training into her indoor regimen. She also spends a good portion of her training actually skiing, focusing on technical aspects and speed all year round. In the summer she is known to train in Austria, Chile, and New Zealand.
Standings through 24 January 2015
|2005||December 3, 2004||Lake Louise, Canada||Downhill|
(2 DH, 1 SG)
|December 3, 2005||Lake Louise, Canada||Downhill|
|December 17, 2005||Val-d'Isère, France||Downhill|
|March 3, 2006||Hafjell, Norway||Super-G|
(2 DH, 1 SG)
|December 2, 2006||Lake Louise, Canada||Downhill|
|December 20, 2006||Val-d'Isère, France||Downhill|
|January 28, 2007||San Sicario, Italy||Super-G|
(5 DH, 1 SC)
|December 1, 2007||Lake Louise, Canada||Downhill|
|December 21, 2007||St. Anton, Austria||Downhill|
|December 22, 2007||Super combined|
|January 19, 2008||Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy||Downhill|
|February 9, 2008||Sestriere, Italy||Downhill|
|March 8, 2008||Crans-Montana, Switzerland||Downhill|
(2 DH, 4 SG,
2 SL, 1 SC)
|November 15, 2008||Levi, Finland||Slalom|
|December 5, 2008||Lake Louise, Canada||Downhill|
|January 17, 2009||Altenmarkt, Austria||Super combined|
|January 30, 2009||Garmisch, Germany||Slalom|
|February 1, 2009||Super-G|
|February 22, 2009||Tarvisio, Italy||Super-G|
|March 1, 2009||Bansko, Bulgaria||Super-G|
|March 11, 2009||Åre, Sweden||Downhill|
|March 12, 2009||Super-G|
(6 DH, 4 SG, 1 SC)
|December 4, 2009||Lake Louise, Canada||Downhill|
|December 5, 2009||Downhill|
|December 18, 2009||Val-d'Isère, France||Super combined|
|January 8, 2010||Haus im Ennstal, Austria||Downhill|
|January 9, 2010||Downhill|
|January 10, 2010||Super-G|
|January 22, 2010||Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy||Super-G|
|January 23, 2010||Downhill|
|January 31, 2010||St. Moritz, Switzerland||Super-G|
|March 6, 2010||Crans-Montana, Switzerland||Downhill|
|March 12, 2010||Garmisch, Germany||Super-G|
(3 DH, 4 SG, 1 SC)
|December 5, 2010||Lake Louise, Canada||Super-G|
|December 18, 2010||Val-d'Isère, France||Downhill|
|December 19, 2010||Super combined|
|January 8, 2011||Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria||Downhill|
|January 21, 2011||Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy||Super-G|
|January 23, 2011||Super-G|
|February 26, 2011||Åre, Sweden||Downhill|
|March 6, 2011||Tarvisio, Italy||Super-G|
(5 DH, 4 SG,
2 GS, 1 SC)
|October 22, 2011||Sölden, Austria||Giant slalom|
|December 2, 2011||Lake Louise, Canada||Downhill|
|December 3, 2011||Downhill|
|December 4, 2011||Super-G|
|December 7, 2011||Beaver Creek, USA||Super-G|
|January 15, 2012||Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy||Super-G|
|January 27, 2012||St. Moritz, Switzerland||Super combined|
|January 28, 2012||Downhill|
|February 4, 2012||Garmisch, Germany||Downhill|
|February 26, 2012||Bansko, Bulgaria||Super-G|
|March 9, 2012||Åre, Sweden||Giant slalom|
|March 14, 2012||Schladming, Austria||Downhill|
(3 DH, 2 SG, 1 GS)
|November 30, 2012||Lake Louise, Canada||Downhill|
|December 1, 2012||Downhill|
|December 2, 2012||Super-G|
|December 8, 2012||St. Moritz, Switzerland||Super-G|
|January 19, 2013||Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy||Downhill|
|January 26, 2013||Maribor, Slovenia||Giant slalom|
(3 DH, 2 SG)
|December 6, 2014||Lake Louise, Canada||Downhill|
|December 20, 2014||Val-d'Isère, France||Downhill|
|January 18, 2015||Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy||Downhill|
|January 19, 2015||Super-G|
|January 25, 2015||St. Moritz, Switzerland||Super-G|
|2014||29||injured: did not compete|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lindsey Vonn.|
|Awards and achievements|
Nastia Liukin & Natalie Coughlin
|USOC Sportswoman of the Year
|Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year