Lindsey Vonn is world-renowned American alpine ski racer on the US ski team. She is one of the six women to have won ‘World Cup’ races in all five disciplines of alpine skiing, namely, downhill, super-G, slalom, giant slalom, and super combined. She became one of the top female skiers, with 82 ‘World Cup’ victories to her credit, surpassing Annemarie Moser-Prӧll of Austria, who held the record since the 1970s. However, she needs five more ‘World Cup’ victories to beat the record set by Ingemar Stenmark of Sweden, who has 86 ‘World Cup’ titles. She is the first American woman to have won a gold medal in downhill, at the 2010 ‘Winter Olympics.’ She also won eight ‘World Cup’ season titles in the downhill discipline, five super-G titles, and three consecutive titles in the super combined (2010 to 2012). Surpassing Ingemar Stenmark of Sweden, who has 19 ‘World Cup’ ‘Globe’ wins (1975–1984), she won the 20th ‘World Cup’ ‘Crystal Globe’ title in 2016. She has the second-highest super ranking among all skiers, including men and women skiers in America. She is one of the greatest skiers America has produced. She grew up in the Twin Cities metropolitan area in Burnsville, Minnesota. She is also known as “Kildon,” “Don Don,” and “The Don.”
Childhood & Education
Lindsey Caroline Kildow was born on October 18, 1984, in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and was raised in the Twin Cities metropolitan area in Burnsville, Minnesota. She has Norwegian roots. She is the daughter of Alan Kildow, a former junior national ski champion, and his wife, Linda Anne (née Krohn). She has four siblings: Dylan, Karin, Reed, and Laura.
She started skiing at the age of 2. She was trained at ‘Buck Hill,’ a ski and snowboard area, by her father’s former coach, Erich Sailer, who was also a ‘US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame’ inductee. She received early skiing lessons from her grandfather, Don Kildow, in Milton, Wisconsin.
Lindsey graduated from the ‘University of Missouri’s ‘Center for Distance Learning and Independent Study’ online program.
Continue Reading Below
You May Like
By the time Lindsey was 7, she had already skied in Colorado, Minnesota, and Oregon all-year round. She traveled to Colorado by train for several years to receive skiing lessons at the ‘Ski Club Vail’ (SCV), an alpine racing program that trains young and aspiring skiers of age 6 and above. In 1995, at the age of 10, she met ‘Olympic’ gold medalist ski racer Picabo Street at a promotional event.
In 1997, when Lindsey was in sixth grade, her family decided to move to Vail, Colorado, permanently. Her siblings, too, relocated soon. During her first year at ‘SCV,’ she skied under the ‘Gravity Corps’ pre-age-class program. She was trained by female coach Colby S Scudder. The program, directed by Tom Krebs, had strict guidelines, according to which skiers were not to be trained inside the gates but were to develop their skills in challenging terrain and difficult conditions. Consisting of multiple groups, this program was for skiers who were not old enough to participate in official age-class events sanctioned by ‘USSA’ or ‘FIS.’ Considering Lindsey’s skiing speed, her coach, Scudder, supported the idea of her skiing with age-class skiers. Support from the program director, Chip Woods, made her enrollment for the age-class skiing program possible. She received lessons from technical skiing coaches such as Todd A Rash, Reid Phillips, and Gus Pernetz. They helped her perfect her technical skills and she began the “in gate” training.
In 1999, Will McDonald and Lindsey were the first American athletes to win the “Cadets” slalom events in Italy’s Trofeo Topolino di Sci Alpino. Street loved watching the 15-year-old Lindsey perform. She admired her love for speed and her amazing knack for following the fall line, which is a rare find.
Climbing through various ranks of the US ski team in her career, she made her ‘World Cup’ debut at the age of 16, on November 18, 2000, in Park City, Utah.
At 17, she debuted at the 2002 ‘Winter Olympics’ in Salt Lake City and raced in both slalom and combined, securing the sixth spot.
In 2003, she earned a silver medal in downhill at the ‘Junior World Championship’ in Puy-Saint-Vincent, France.
In January 2004, she secured the third place in downhill at the ‘World Cup’ in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. The same year, she won a silver medal in downhill at the ‘US Alpine Championships’ at the ‘Mount Alyeska Resort,’ Girdwood, Alaska.
In 2005, she reached the fourth place in both the downhill and the combined events at the first ‘World Championships,’ held in Bormio, Italy. She also secured the ninth position in super-G. However, she failed to finish the giant slalom.
Lindsey won the overall ‘World Cup’ title and became the second American woman to be honored with the most ‘World Cup’ downhill victories, following Tamara McKinney in 1983. She also won the ‘US Alpine Championships’ combined title (downhill and slalom) in 2008.
Continue Reading Below
At the 2009 ‘World Championships’ held in Val-d’Isere, France, Lindseybecame the first woman to win the world super-G title. In the super combined event, she won the downhill round and almost finished second with a remarkable slalom performance. However, she was later disqualified for splitting a gate.
She was previously determined that she would not retire until she had broken Stenmark’s record of ‘World Cup’ victories. However, in October 2018, ahead of the 2018–209 ‘FIS Alpine Ski World Cup,’ she announced that she would retire at the end of the season, irrespective of whether she was able to break Stenmark’s record or not.
She attributes her change in attitude toward training to a bike ride she experienced with fellow ski racer Julia Mancuso and her father, when she visited them in Lake Tahoe, California.
At the 2006 ‘Winter Olympics,’ Lindsey clocked the second-best time in the first practice run but crashed in the second training run for downhill on February 13, 2006, in San Sicario, Italy. She was carried by a helicopter to Turin and was hospitalized. She underwent treatment for a bruised hip. However, she returned to the slope 2 days later, to finish eighth in the competition.
A training crash before the slalom race at the ‘World Championship’ in 2007 caused a low-level ACL sprain to her right knee, thus ending her season 4 weeks early. Nevertheless, she secured the third spot in the 2007 ‘Women’s World Cup’ super-G and downhill races.
Her career was once plagued with illness, resulting in her skipping a pair of slalom races toward the end of 2012. However, in a few days, she picked herself up to secure a hat-trick win of two downhill and a super-G race in Lake Louise. The event was held from November 30 to December 2, 2013. These wins increased her career total to 56 and helped her surpass Vreni Schneider to earn the second place among women.
In 2018, Lindsey stated that she would not attend the ‘White House’ reception in case she won the ‘Olympic’ gold medal. She also refused to represent the US president at the 2018 ‘Winter Olympics. She made it clear that ‘Olympians’ represent the people of the country and not the president. At the 2018 ‘Winter Olympics,’ she tied at the sixth place in the women’s super-G and won bronze in downhill.
Injuries made her miss several seasons, the 2013–2014 season being one of them. However, during recovery, she chose to work for ‘NBC News’ as a correspondent, covering the 2014 ‘Winter Olympics’ in Sochi, Russia.
In December 2009, Lindseysustained arm injuries after a crash during the opening run of the ‘World Cup’ giant slalom but continued racing, as there were no signs of a fracture that would stop her from performing and running at the ‘Olympic’ games in Vancouver. Despite her injuries, she won three straight races (two downhills and a super-G) in Haus im Ennstal, Austria.
Continue Reading Below
While Lindsey planned to compete in all five women alpine events at the ‘Vancouver Winter Olympics’ in 2010, she revealed severe bruising of her shin during training the previous week. The pain was excruciating and gave her a difficult time. However, due to warm weather, a lot of alpine events were postponed, and that allowed her time to heal and recover.
At the 2011 ‘World Championships’ held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany, Lindsey suffered from a concussion. However, she participated in two events and secured the seventh place in super-G and the silver medal in downhill.
During the first marathon of the 2013 ‘World Championships’ in Schladming, Austria, she crashed in the super-G and was airlifted to a nearby hospital. The diagnosis revealed that her anterior cruciate ligament and her medial collateral ligament had been torn. A tibial plateau fracture was also diagnosed.
On November 11, 2016, she announced that the humerus of her right arm was fractured in a training crash. She underwent surgery to repair the bone.
She returned to the ‘World Cup’ on January 15, 2017, and secured the thirteenth place in the downhill race in Altenmarkt. On January 20, in her second race after her return, she won the downhill event in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
Awards & Achievements
She has been featured on the covers of ‘People,’ ‘Women’s Health,’ ‘Fitness,’ Sports Illustrated,’ ‘Glamour,’ ‘ESPN’ and ‘TV Guide.’
She was conferred with the ‘US Olympic Spirit Award,’ based on votes from American fans, former US ‘Olympians,’ and fellow US athletes, for giving her best despite her bruised hip and finishing eight at the ‘Winter Olympics’ of 2006.
She earned the silver in both downhill and super-G at the 2007 ‘World Championships’ in Åre, Sweden. These were her first “big race” medals.
In 2009, Lindsey was awarded the ‘Skieur d’Or Award’ by members of the ‘International Association of Ski Journalists’ for her stellar performance during the previous seasons.
Continue Reading Below
In 2010, Lindsey was awarded with two ‘Sportswoman of the Year’ awards: one by the ‘United States Olympic Committee’ and the other by ‘Laureus.’ On January 14, 2010, Lindsey was named the ‘Colorado Athlete of the Year’ for her performance in 2009. The ‘Associated Press’ named her the 2010 ‘Female Athlete of the Year.’
With many more victories, she overtook Renate Götschl to become the third most-successful Alpine skier in January 2012. On February 4, 2012, she achieved her 50th ‘World Cup’ victory, in Garmisch, Germany, on the Kandahar downhill course.
Of late, she has won a bronze medal in the women's alpine downhill race at the 2018 ‘Winter Olympics’ in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Charity & Philanthropy
The ‘Lindsey Vonn Foundation,’ a charitable organization, was established to provide academic and sports scholarships to students and help children discover the grit within to succeed in their lives. The foundation collects donation to help determined children create stable and secure lives.
Family & Personal Life
On September 29, 2007, Lindsey Kildow married US ski team athlete and fellow 2002 ‘Olympian’ Thomas Vonn.
In November 2011, the couple parted ways and announced divorce. The divorce was finalized on January 9, 2013.
In 2012, she met renowned golfer Tiger Woods at a charity event. They started dating in March 2013 but split in May 2015.
In December 2017, there were reports of Lindsey being in a relationship with PK Subban, a Canadian ice-hockey player.
Lindsey often spends time with Maria Höfl-Riesch, her friend and former major competitor, in Germany. Being fluent in German, she prefers spending time at the Reisch family home. During the off-season, Lindsey relocates to Vail, Colorado, briefly.
In her leisure time, she enjoys being with her family and dogs, besides playing golf and tennis for fun. She trains for 6 to 8 hours every day, for 6 days a week, during summer. She incorporates fitness training, tight-rope walking, endurance cycling, and reaction training into her indoor workout regimen.
The most unusual of Lindsey’s trophies is an oversized pet, ‘Olympe’ the cow, which she won in 2005 in Val-d’lsère, France. The trophy is now kept in Kirchberg, Austria.