NBC Universal Sports has picked Lindsey Vonn’s gold medal downhill run in Vancouver as their top Olympic moment.
Skiing on a rough track that seemed intent on antagonizing her injured shin, Vonn surged down the slope in a time of 1:44.19, taking the lead from teammate (and eventual silver medalist) Julia Mancuso.
And when she reached the finish, Vonn unleashed years of escalating Olympic emotion, raising her arms in a scream, then hitting the ground and screaming a few times more (because some Olympic medals warrant more than one celebratory yell).
Though she showed no agony in those post-race moments, Vonn later admitted that weight on her shin was a legitimate issue. “It’s so painful to ski, especially on this course because it’s so bumpy,” she told the Associated Press, adding, “I was really lucky with the weather and the postponements. I needed those days off.”
Vonn continued to speak humbly when she said, “It was not the perfect run by any means,” but her husband, former Olympian Thomas Vonn, called it “one of the most clutch runs I’ve ever seen.”
Considering that she raced through injury to secure her first Olympic gold, the first Olympic downhill gold by an American woman and the first gold medal of a record eight total medals for the U.S. Alpine team in Vancouver, “clutch” alone probably doesn’t sum up what Vonn accomplished on Feb. 17, 2010.