Lindsey Vonn receives Athlete of the Decade honor

Posted By: The Ski Channel on January 3, 2010 10:02 am

Lindsey Vonn has just marked another life-changing notch on her belt. NBC’s Universal Sports has just named her the Female Athlete of the Decade. They named Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt (the world’s fastest man) as her male counterpart.

To say Lindsey deserves this honor is an understatement. The past two winters, she has continued to set records, break them, and set them again in the world of alpine ski racing. “It’s incredible to think about where I was as a person and an athlete in 2000 and then compare that to where I am now. Skiing is my life and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. I’ve traveled the world, raced in two Olympics and am getting ready for a third. It’s what I’ve dreamed of since I was a little kid.”

She continues: “It’s really hard to quantify the last two seasons. Definitely winning the downhill World Championship was the biggest single day of my career, but I’m hoping to change that in Vancouver. I’ve never won an Olympic medal – one of any color will be just fine for me and I’m going to work harder than ever to put myself in a position to make that happen.”

Lindsey is known in the alpine world for not letting injuries and other setbacks keep her down. There was the monstrous crash in Torino in the 2006 Olympic Winter Games—she was airlifted to a hospital and still didn’t sit out of the race. She ended up taking eighth place and winning the Olympic Spirit Award.

Then, at the 2009 Alpine World Championships, after winning the super G and downhill gold medals, she severed a tendon in her thumb after grabbing a broken bottle of champagne. She had surgery the next day and then promptly returned to the Championships to compete in the final race, going on to podium in the next four consecutive races. Not to mention she defended her World Cup overall and downhill titles, plus added a super G title and set an American World Cup victory record for women.

If that wasn’t enough, last Monday, she crashed during the World Cup giant slalom in Lienz, Austria. At first we all thought her arm was broken, but she knew missing the next day’s slalom race was not a possibility: “When I immediately had crashed, I thought for sure it was broken. It felt terrible and I immediately was thinking ‘OK, how can I ski with a broken arm.’ But after we got the MRI and more information later on it was a much more positive outlook and thankfully I don’t have to have a cast. We’ll just make due with another brace just like we did last year and go through some more duct tape. I think I need a duct tape sponsorship,” she said.

Vonn had little time to celebrate this honor as she is gearing up for the World Cup slalom race today in Zagreb, Croatia – the biggest technical race of the season paying 50,000 Euro or just over $71,700 to the winner. “Zagreb is always such an awesome race and I’m going to do my best to be ready,” said Vonn. “It’s the World Cup slalom that everyone wants to win. The Croatian organizing committee is incredible and the fans there are so supportive. I’m certainly going to try my best, arm brace and all.” Good luck Lindsey, and congratulations from all of us at The Ski Channel!!