Lindsey Vonn

Alpine ski racer

Lindsey Vonn

Lindsey Vonn (born October 18, 1984) is an American former World Cup alpine ski racer on the US Ski Team. She won four World Cup overall championships 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 one for an American woman. She also won a record eight World Cup season titles in the downhill discipline (2008–2013, 2015, 2016), five titles in super-G (2009–2012, 2015), and three consecutive titles in the combined (2010–2012). In 2016, she won her 20th World Cup crystal globe title, the overall record for men or women. She has the second highest super ranking of all skiers, men or women.

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 won 82 World Cup races in her career through February 3, 2018. Her total of 82 World Cup victories is a women’s record. 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 is the most successful American ski racer and considered one of the greatest of all skiers.

The ACL injury

Lindsey Vonn is now the most successful female Alpine skier ever, but she did not get this title without challenges. Injuries caused Vonn to miss parts of several seasons, including almost all of the 2013 season and the 2014 Olympic season.

It all started in 2013
At the first race of the season in Austria Schladming on February 5 Vonn crashed on the Super-G. Things appeared to be going well for Vonn, who ended up landing awkwardly after a small jump, about 40 seconds into the run. She completely lost control and tumbled down the mountain, yelling out in pain and had to leave the slope by helicopter. 

Shortly after the crash, the United States ski team’s medical director, Kyle Wilkens, confirmed that Vonn had torn the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) in her right knee. Her actual diagnosis was a tibial plateau fracture — she had torn knee ligaments, coupled with a knee fracture, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Vonn got back to skiing in late 2013
While preparing to come back from knee surgery at Beaver Creek, Vonn crashed during a training in November of 2013 run at Copper Mountain, Colo. She was taken off the slope on a sled and underwent an MRI and said she sustained a mild strain and partial tear of the ACL in her recently rehabbed right knee, minor facial abrasions and scapular contusions from her fall.

At the time, she said that her ACL was partially torn, but she was going to be able to pull through. About two weeks later, however, another fall during the World Cup downhill at Lake Louise in Canada  further aggravated her knee. Still, Vonn pushed forward, skiing three times in the event, not once reaching the podium.


A complete ACL tear
In December 21,  2013, Vonn competed in the World Cup downhill in Val d’Isère, France. “About halfway through the course, her right knee buckled as she tried to make a high-speed turn, and she skidded off the course. After the race, for the first time, Vonn acknowledged her ACL injury was more severe. She said the ligament had been ruptured,” the New York Times reported.

It turned out that she had a complete ACL tear, which she compounded with MCL and joint damage. On January 7, Vonn was forced to withdraw from the Sochi Olympics and didn’t return to World Cup action until December 2014.

Vonn was forced to it out the 2014 Sochi Olympics. She wrote on Facebook:
Vonn needed surgery again. Fortunately, everything went well.

Highlights & Awards

  • Overall Worldcup: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012
  • Olympic Gold Downhill: 2010
  • World Championship Downhill: 2009
  • World Championship super G: 2009
  • USA Championship super G: 2004
  • USA World Championship slalom: 2004, 2008, 2009
  • Downhill Worldcup: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
  • Super G Worldcup: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
  • Combined Worldcup: 2010, 2011, 2012
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