Lindsey Vonn’s career is a study in the ability of one’s mind and will to overcome physical challenges. The 2019 World Championships in Are, Sweden are where Vonn would run her final race, bringing an end to one of alpine skiing’s most illustrious runs.
It would be hard to argue with anyone who calls Vonn the face of competitive skiing. She’s the sport’s most recognizable star by leaps and bounds, starring at multiple Winter Olympics. But just as impressive as Vonn’s achievements on the hill was her ability to get back on it after facing adversity.
Let’s take a closer look at her career as well as how many gold medals she won.
Lindsey Vonn’s career
Vonn was born in 1984 in St. Paul, Minnesota. She very quickly realized she had the athletic ability to be a top performer, starting her skiing career at the age of 7. Her family then moved to Colorado in the ’90s, and in 1999 she would win the Trofeo Topolino slalom in Italy. This made her the first American woman to win that event.
In 2002, she received a spot on Team USA for the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002 and would win a silver medal at the Junior World Championship in 2003. She went on to become one of the world’s most decorated skiers from there.
The setbacks faced by Lindsay Vonn
On Vonn’s journey to the top of the skiing world, she’d face plenty of obstacles on her way to the top of that mountain. She suffered numerous injuries, the worst of which came in 2013 at the World Championships in Austria.
The star tore her ACL and MCL while also fracturing her lateral tibial plateau. She was forced to undergo reconstructive surgery which kept her shelved for a long time. She would have to forego the 2014 Olympics only to return at the 2018 Olympic Games.
Vonn would suffer another skiing accident in November of 2018 which would eventually lead to her retirement this year. Vonn’s numerous injuries throughout her career came largely due to the type of event she participated in – downhill racing is incredibly difficult and physically taxing.
Vonn made it clear through an Instagram post announcing her retirement that her physical wellbeing wouldn’t allow her to continue competing, saying:
“My body is broken beyond repair, and it isn’t letting me have the final season I dreamed of…My body is screaming at me to STOP and it’s time for me to listen.”
Even for someone as courageous in the face of adversity as Vonn, her latest injury was too much for her to overcome. While she left the sport probably sooner than she liked due to her body breaking down, there’s no question that she left an incredible legacy for future skiers to be impressed by.
How many gold medals has Lindsey Vonn won?
- She’s won one gold medal (in the downhill race at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010).
- She’s won two bronze medals (one at Pyeongchang in 2018 and one at Vancouver in 2010).
At the World Championships, she also experienced success:
- Took part in the World Championships in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019.
- Gold medal in 2009
- Two silver medals in 2007, one in 2011
- Bronze medals in 2015 and 2017
Vonn retired having won 82 World Cup victories – the most for any female skier of all-time. To recap: Vonn won one gold medal at the Olympics and two at the World Championships, capping one of the great careers in winter sports and competitive skiing.