As far as comebacks go, Hollywood script doctors would have a hard time coming up with something better than what Lindsey Vonn has crafted in the snow the past two months.
Using the slopes in Lake Louise, Alberta; Val d’Isere, France; Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy, and St. Moritz, Switzerland, as her canvas, the 30-year-old American authored a gem. Devastated by recurring knee injuries costing her a chance to compete in last year’s Sochi Winter Games, Vonn returned to the mountaintop of women’s skiing this winter in remarkably short order.
She won the World Cup downhill at Lake Louise on December 6, the WC downhill at Val d’Isere on January 12, the WC downhill at Cortina d’Apezzo on January 18 and the WC super-G a day later at the same site to increase her career WC wins total from 59 to 63, surpassing the all-time women’s WC mark of 62 set by Austrian great Annemarie Moser-Proll 35 years ago.
For good measure, Vonn added to the record at St. Moritz on January 25, topping the super-G field there.
Now, with 64 victories, as well as nomination for the United States Sports Academy’s Female Athlete of the Month for January, the only figure ahead of her in WC competition is the legendary Swede, Ingemar Stenmark, who holds the men’s record with 86 wins.
There is no debating the significance of Vonn’s achievement, however, even with many of the media getting carried away with her boyfriend, megastar golfer Tiger Woods, having his tooth knocked out by a media videographer in the post-race celebratory commotion.
Now in her 15th year of World Cup competition, the St. Paul, Minn., native has proven that, even after suffering physical woes, she can still compete – and win – at the highest level.
In fact, her record-setting performance was positively dominant. On a flawless run down the Olympa delle Tofane, she finished 0.85 of a second ahead of runner-up Aanna Fenninger of Austria.
Since that effort, she managed to take third in the World Championships super-G event at Beaver Creek, Colo. A gold medalist in the downhill at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, Vonn has won two World Championship golds, super-G and downhill, both in the 2009 event at Val d’Isere.
Now, after a brilliant comeback, she is the most successful women’s skier in World Cup history.