Lindsey Vonn

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Up close, Lindsey Vonn’s honey-colored hair, high cheekbones, and sprinkling of freckles give her the look of a Ralph Lauren model: all-American yet aristocratic. But seen from a distance -- say, the length of a ski slope -- Vonn resembles nothing so much as a rocket.

“If you work hard, it will pay off in the end,” she says. It’s a philosophy of life the athlete lives and skis by metaphorically and figuratively.

Coming out of the 2006 Olympics, where a crash in practice tarnished her dreams of gold, Lindsey trained harder and skied faster than ever before. She walked the podium a dozen times in 2007 and used that momentum to soar in 2008. The racer’s intensified focus propelled her to win the 2008 Downhill World Cup and also fulfilled her childhood dream: a victory in the Overall World Cup.

Leading into the 2008/’09 season, Lindsey faced perhaps an even greater challenge than winning the Overall title: defending it. In a season filled with excitement and bizarre drama, Lindsey managed to break records and firmly establish herself as the greatest female skier in American history.

In the ‘09/’10 season, she became the first American skier to win three discipline titles in a single season, taking the Downhill, Super G and Super Combined crowns (she repeated all three titles the following season). On top of that, her third Olympic appearance netted gold in Downhill and bronze in Super G, and she earned her third overall World Cup title.

Barely into her mid-20s and with skills matched only by her driving determination, Lindsey is leaving no doubt that she’ll continue to make new entries in the sporting world’s record books.

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