It’s fair to say that Saint Paul, Minnesota’s Lindsey Vonn is the biggest star (at least in terms of name recognition) representing the United States in 2018 Winter Olympics.
The 5-foot-10 blonde alpine skier has used her combination of incredible athleticism and undeniable beauty, to bring attention to a sport that was previously seen as relatively obscure. Over the course of her career, Vonn has been an Olympian, model, and even an occasional television star. While it may sound cliché, the stunning Olympian has truly seen and done it all. Moreover, she has also been romantically linked to some other star athletes, such as professional golfer Tiger Woods.
Since making her debut as a 17-year-old at the 2002 Winter Olympics, American has been captivated by this gorgeous and talented skier. Now, at the age of 33, Vonn prepares for what will very likely be her final Olympic run in 2018.
Lindsey Vonn has had a storied career full of ups and downs. While she was able to reach the pinnacle of her sport, there were certainly more than a few setbacks along the way. With that in mind, it’s time to take a look at 8 moments she would like her fans to remember when it’s all said and done, along with 7 she may wish never happened.
15 Does: Olympic Gold
Lindsey Vonn had injured her shin, just prior to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. However, due to unseasonably warm weather that year, her event was pushed back, thus allowing Vonn more time to recover. She would wind up fighting through the pain and even ended up winning her first (and only) Olympic gold medal.
On her way to capturing gold, the blonde bombshell defeated her rival and fellow American Julia Mancuso by 56 seconds. By winning it all that year, she became the first women from the United States to win a gold medal in downhill. Vonn also had success in the super-G that year, where she managed to win a bronze medal. Winning a gold and bronze medal at the Olympics is arguably the highlight of her impressive career.
14 Doesn’t: Divorce
Ever since becoming one of the most popular American athletes in Olympic history, there has been a great deal interest regarding Lindsey Vonn’s love life. Before dating Tiger Woods, she was previously married to a man named Thomas Vonn. In fact, Lindsey Vonn’s last name is actually that of her former husband's, as her maiden name is Lindsey Caroline Kildow.
Thomas Vonn is a 42-year-old retired alpine skier who had an excellent career in his own right. Like his famous ex-wife, he also competed in the 2002 Winter Olympics, while finishing 9th in the super G event. The two were wed in Deer Valley, Utah back in 2007. While the divorce wasn’t finalized until January of 2013, the couple apparently separated sometime in (or around) November of 2011.
13 Does: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue
For aspiring models, it doesn’t get any bigger than posing for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. The publication has featured several legendary models over the years including the likes Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks and Kate Upton. Standing just under 5-foot-10, with flowing blonde hair and an athletic physique, Vonn would seem like a natural fit to be featured in the magazine.
The popular Olympian would end up in the pages of 2010 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She appeared alongside other Olympians such as Hannah Teter, Lacy Schnoor, and Clair Bidez. Tennis star Ana Ivanovic also modeled that year and even received some criticism following the shoot, as her play on the court declined following her appearance. As we can see here, Lindsey Vonn looks as good as any model, wearing a stylish bikini, in a photo her fans are sure to love.
12 Doesn’t: Losing The Overall World Cup To Maria Riesch
Maria Hofl-Riesch has been one of Lindsey Vonn’s biggest rivals over the years. While the German-born skier and the blonde American may try and outdo each other on the slope, they are actually close friends when they aren’t going head-to-head. However, Vonn may not have been feeling so friendly toward Riesch back in 2011.
Vonn had won the last three world cup championships prior to facing Riesch in 2011. While the former swimsuit model finished ahead of her German adversary in several races, Vonn was unable to capture her fourth consecutive World Cup Championship. While the Minnesota product did have the overall lead at one point, she was unable to maintain it. Maria Riesch would end up in 1st place overall, winning by 3 points, after the slalom event was canceled due to weather conditions.
11 Does: Olympic Debut
The 2002 Winter Olympics were held in Salt Lake City, Utah back in February of 2002. The Salt Lake City Games were the site of Lindsey Vonn’s Olympic debut that year. She was just 17 years of age at the time of her debut and (as we can see here) looked very different in those days.
During her first run as a member of Team USA, Vonn competed in both combined and slalom. While she was unable to capture a medal in Utah, the then-teenager did end up finishing 6th in the combined. That year it would Croatia’s Janica Kostelic who would end up winning the gold in both the previously mentioned events. Croatia would also end up winning the most alpine skiing medals that year, while the US finished 6th overall.
10 Doesn't: Injuries
The 5-foot-10 queen of the slopes has suffered several fairly significant injuries since becoming a professional skier. She bruised her shin just before the 2010 Olympics. Vonn would also suffer a concussion just prior to the 2011 World Championships. One of her worst injuries came back at the 2013 World Championships when the Midwestern beauty tore both her medial collateral ligament (MCL) and her anterior collateral ligament (ACL). The injury would ultimately cause Vonn to miss the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
Lindsey Vonn has had an outstanding professional career and won several high profile competitions over the years, including both the Olympics and the World Cup overall championships. When one looks at all she accomplished, in spite of these many setbacks, it’s hard not to wonder what she could have done had she stay healthy throughout her career.
9 Does: Television Appearances
Lindsey Vonn has become a star that has transcended the world of alpine skiing. In truth, most people probably can’t even name another skier other than the 5-foot-10 Minnesota native. This is due in large part to the fact that Vonn has appeared on numerous talk shows and even on popular television series.
Access Hollywood, The Late Show with David Letterman, and The Today Show are just a few of the programs which have featured the gold medalist in the past. However, Vonn has appeared on more than just talk shows. Back in 2010, she was even guest starred in an episode of the legal drama Law & Order called “Rubber Room.” Outside of being featured as a special guest, Vonn also claims to be a huge fan of the show.
8 Doesn’t: Recent Breakup
Following her breakup with Tiger Woods, Lindsey Vonn began dating a former Los Angeles Rams assistant coach by the name of Kenan Allen. While the couple didn’t generate the same type of attention as Woods/ Vonn did, it still received a great deal of media buzz.
Kenan Allen and Lindsey Vonn officially became a couple back in November of 2016, following an Instagram post which stated, “Even though I’m injured, again, I have so much to be thankful for; incredible friends, an amazing boyfriend, my family and a lot of loyal supporters.” The relationship lasted for roughly a year before they split up due to scheduling conflicts. In a recent quote from pagesix.com, a source (friend) close to the skier claimed, “It was amicable, and they are still friends. Lindsey is laser-focused on her training for the upcoming Olympics and is leaving the country for several months to start competing.”
7 Does: Winning 4 World Cup Championships
Outside of winning an Olympic gold medal, Vonn’s biggest accomplishment is probably winning 4 World Cup Championships in a five-years span. The only other female skier to win four titles was Austrian legend Annemarie Moser-Proll, one of the biggest stars of the 1970s.
Vonn captured her very first World Cup title back in 2008, after finishing ahead of 2nd place finisher Nicole Hosp of Austria and her rival German star, Maria Riesch who took 3rd place. From there, the American would go on to defend her title in 2009 and 2010. However, she would end up finishing behind Maria Riesch in 2011 ending her consecutive World Cup Championship streak. While the streak may have been broken, Vonn would return in 2012 and once again capture the 1st place trophy.
6 Doesn’t: 2013 Crash In Austria
Lindsey Vonn has suffered some pretty nasty spills in her many years competing at the highest level. Sking can be fun, but it’s also very dangerous, especially with some athletes reaching speeds of up to 90 miles per hour. One of the scariest moments involving the four-time World Cup winner came back in 2013 at the World Championships.
The 2013 World Championships were held in Schladming, Austria that year. While participating in the prestigious event, Vonn suffered a horrific crash, which resulted in significant damage to both her ACL and MCL. Following the accident, Vonn was airlifted to a nearby hospital. The determined star still hoped to return in time to compete in the 2014 Winter Games and briefly came back before re-injuring her leg in November of 2013. Following her setback, she was unable to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
5 Does: Huge Social Media Following
Like it or not, social media has become something of a measuring stick in determining how popular an athlete is in 2018. While some athletes can expect to have an online following in the hundreds of thousands, it isn’t uncommon for the most popular sports stars to have well over a million followers on sites like Instagram and Twitter.
It probably won’t come as much of surprise to anyone that Lindsey Vonn has a good number of followers on several social media sites. For example, at press time, she has around 975,000 followers on Twitter. Moreover, on Instagram, a site that primarily features photographs, she has an eye-popping 1.2 million followers and photos like this one are certainly part of the reason why. After folks see this image, she will likely have a few more.
4 Doesn’t: 2006 Helicopter Evacuation
While Vonn has been apart of some amazing Olympic moments over that last 15 or so years, there have also been a few scary ones. Perhaps the most frightening moment came back at the 2006 Winter Olympics Games which were head in Italy.
During a training run for the downhill race, Vonn suffered a dreadful crash in San Sicario, Italy where the event was being held. The 5-foot-10 superstar was airlifted from the scene and a taken to a nearby hospital in Turin. Fortunately, she was able to avoid any significant injury, and despite an overnight hospital stay, she returned to the slopes to compete in the Olympics, just two days later. While the crash is something she would probably like to forget, Vonn did receive an Olympic Spirit Award for returning to action.
3 Does: Hot 100 List
Outside of skiing, Lindsey Vonn is best known for being one of the most beautiful athletes in professional sports. The blonde starlet’s undeniable appeal has done a great deal to boost her profile over the years. Moreover, it was also helped her earn some great modeling opportunities and sponsorships.
She appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and frequently makes lists which feature the world’s hottest females athletes. In fact, Vonn was previously ranked number 59 on Maxim’s Hot 100 list back in 2011. In the image here, we can see the lovely skier posing in a dazzling dress, at an event to honor those who made the prestigious list. One won’t find too many lists which focus on gorgeous female athletes that don’t feature Lindsey Vonn.
2 Doesn’t: Tiger Woods Relationship
For better or worse, when one becomes a world famous pro athlete, they can expect to get a great deal of attention from the media. Moreover, when two of best-known athletes in their respective sports get together, the attention will only intensify. Vonn discovered this fact when she began daring PGA legend Tiger Woods.
Woods and Vonn met for the very first time at a charity event which they were both attending back in 2012. They officially became an item in March of 2013 and dated until May of 2015. While the two split up over two years ago, Vonn still gets asked about the relationship in interviews. While she is probably tired of talking about her famous ex, the two apparently remain friends, according to the skier.
1 Does: Super Bowl Ad
These days people seem to be just as excited to see the commercials on Super Bowl Sunday as the game itself. Moreover, with an ad spot during the big game going for about $5 million (USD) for a 30-second clip, corporation try and feature the very best that their advertising executives have to offer. This February, Vonn has featured in a popular commercial hyping her 2018 Olympic coming back, during Super Bowl LII.
Her commercial featured the song “Girl on Fire” by R&B superstar Alicia Keys. Vonn even took to Twitter to comment on the ad stating, “It’s crazy that 60 seconds can tell so much about my life; my family, my love for skiing, my success, my pain, my will to never give up...but in the end, I’m just a kid that loves to ski fast. Thanks for making me cry @NBCOlympics."