By Doug Haney/Alpine Press Officer
Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) has been named the U.S. Olympic Committee’s SportsWoman of the Year for 2010, marking the second consecutive year Vonn has earned the USOC’s most prestigious honor. The award has been presented annually to the top overall male and female athletes from within the USOC member organizations since 1974.
Vonn was nominated for the award by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, along with fellow Olympic champion Bode Miller (Franconia, NH), who capped a stunning Olympics with gold in the super combined, and the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team that skied to silver in Vancouver. The USSA also nominated two-time Olympic halfpipe champion Shaun White along with 2010 silver medalist and 2006 champion Hannah Teter.
The 2010 Olympic season saw Vonn become the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in downhill. She then added a second medal with bronze in super G and went on to produce a record-breaking season on the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup tour.
photo: red bull photo files
“The 2010 Olympic season was incredible, but what made it so special is that I was able to share it with so many American fans,” said Vonn, who won two super G races last weekend in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy and will race this weekend in the Olympic Village of Sestriere. “It was amazing to see the support and excitement they showed for ski racing and that’s definitely carried into this winter. It means so much to the athletes to hear from them. Win or crash, they keep us excited to compete.”
Her American record 11 World Cup wins in 2010 propelled Vonn to a third consecutive overall title, third straight downhill title, second super G title and the season-long crown for super combined to close the season as the most successful alpine skier in American history.
Her performances earned also earned her ESPY awards for both “Best Female Athlete” and “Best Female U.S. Olympic Athlete” that boosted Vonn into a major name in sports and popular culture.
Post Vancouver, she guest starred in an episode of Law & Order, presented at the Academy of Country Music Awards and snapped photos with Morgan Freeman, Betty White and Katie Couric at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.
She shook hands with Oprah Winfrey, Patrick Robinson of the Gap, and Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue, at the 2010 Met Costume Institute Gala and Exhibition and appeared on the cover of the ESPN The Magazine movie issue adding to the pair of Sports Illustrated cover photos she earned during the Olympics.
photo: Thomas Green/Vail Resorts
“These opportunities are absolutely incredible and certainly wouldn’t have been possible for me without skiing,” said Vonn. “My goal has always been to make the most of every opportunity to help promote the sport I love so much, especially to little kis.”
Figure skater Evan Lysacek was selected SportsMan of the Year; the USA 1 four-man bobsled team was honored as Team of the Year; mono-skier Alana Nichols was named Paralympic SportsWoman of the Year; sled hockey player Taylor Chace was named Paralympic SportsMan of the Year; and the 2010 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team has been awarded the Paralympic Team of the Year honor.
Vonn is the first woman since track and field legend Jackie Joyner Kersee (1986-87) to win the award back-to-back. The last female alpine skier to achieve the honor was Vonn’s childhood hero Picabo Street in 1998.