American Lindsey Vonn is alpine skiing’s poster girl. She is as ruthless, brilliant and successful as they come in the competitive world of alpine racing. Hailing from Saint Paul, Minnesota, Lindsey set her sights on becoming a world-class skier after meeting her childhood hero, Picabo Street at the age of nine.
By age 18, she’d won three World Cup downhill titles and looked set for an Olympic Gold. But disaster struck when she crashed in practice and was forced to bow out. That setback only strengthened Lindsey’s resolve. The next year she won silver in downhill and Super G at the World Championships, and in 2008 she won both the overall and downhill World Cup titles. Since then there’s been an avalanche of triumphs and a few setbacks. After an accident in February 2013, which required surgery, she made a fantastic comeback in December. However, in early January 2014 Lindsey had to take the difficult decision to pull out of the Sochi Winter Olympics after a racing injury in Val d’Isère, France at the end of 2013 meant it wouldn’t be safe for her to ski. After surgery, her focus was to work hard on her rehab to make it back to competition, which she eventually did. Despite breaking her right arm in November 2016, Lindsey became the oldest female medallist in the FIS Ski World Championships’ history and the first American alpine skier to earn a medal at five World Championships after taking third in the downhill race at St Moritz, Switzerland in February 2017.
Sports Discipline: Alpine skiing
Resides: California, USA (during the off-season)
- 2009 first American woman to claim back-to-back championships
- 2010 Olympic downhill gold at the Vancouver Games (the first American woman to do so).
- 2010 World Cup champion
- 2010 Laureus World Sports Award for Sportswoman of the Year
- 2011 Downhill, combined and Super G champion
- 2012 became the eighth woman to join the all-event winners’ circle following her first giant slalom win
- 2012–13 season third career hat-trick and second place in the all-time women’s standings
- 2012 World Cup downhill title
- 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail, Beaver Creek, Colorado and the World Cup season. She did make it, and in January 2015 she beat Austrian Annemarie Moser-Pröll’s 35-year-old record when she won her 63rd World Cup victory. She followed this up in January
- 2016 37th downhill victory, competing in Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy, beating Möser-Proll’s all-time downhill record
- 2016 World Cup downhill champion – her eighth in downhill and her 20th Crystal Globe in total
Give us a brief outline of your in-season training routine.
When I’m in-season and I’m racing, it’s more about maintaining what I have and doing more balance, cardio and coordination than necessarily lifting weights. In the summer – my off-season, – it’s more of everything: cardio, weights, agility, coordination, and plyometric training.
Are there big differences in your in- and off-season nutrition?
I think the biggest difference between in- and off-season eating is that it’s much more difficult to get everything I need when I’m on the road, especially when I’m travelling to different countries where some of the things I eat, like avocados, aren’t necessarily as easily accessible. I constantly struggle on the road to find what I need, but I do the best that I can to stay on my meal plan.
What advice would you give to a woman who wants to pursue a sport like yours?
Practice makes perfect! Just keep working at it. The more you do it the better you’ll get. And, of course, hard work pays off! You’ve got to put in the work, but nothing is impossible.
What are your thoughts on female equality in your sport? Have you seen growth in participants over the past few years?
In general, there is much lower participation in ski-racing among women and it’s remained roughly the same over the course of my 17-year career. If anything, it’s seen a decline in the last 5 years. Women are held at a lower regard in my sport. As with most other codes, men are still the pinnacle of the sport. They race harder courses than we do and they’re stronger than us. I can’t say that it’s wrong, but there is definitely a discrepancy.
Is there something you wish you knew when you started?
Nothing! I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise. If anything, your mistakes make you wiser, so don’t avoid mistakes, just learn from them!
Images by: Red Bull Content Pool
Author: Mariska du Plessis
Mariska is the editor of Fitness Magazine, Bootcamp Instructor, Writer, Photographer and Wellness Blogger.
Follow her on Instagram: @justmariska_