Vonn’s Ride Up and Down Slopes: A look at Lindsey Vonn’s roller coaster ride back to the Olympics

Throughout the Superbowl, many fans looked forward to the commercials that are notorious for their attempt in broadening its audiences’ view. Some are filled with confusing actor portrayals, as we saw in Tide’s commercials, but some are made to specifically open our eyes to the hardships of someone we as Americans look up to. In a 60 second commercial for the Winter Olympics, NBC Sports dramatized the all too real experiences of skiing legend Lindsey Vonn. Vonn is not a stranger to many injuries in order to continue pursuing her dreams of being an Olympic skier.

Vonn started her career as a young child skiing in her home state of Minnesota. This early introduction into the winter sport fueled her passion that continued when she first started competing in the World Cup– a prestigious competition before the once every four years Winter Olympics. So far, Vonn, a 33- year- old superstar, has won a total of 81 World Cup events. This makes her just a little shy of the record held by Ingemar Stenmark with 86 World Cup event wins. Vonn then first appeared in the Winter Olympics in 2002, and she has been in attendance at each one since.

However, no matter what Vonn has accomplished, she had the possibility to do so much more. On various occasions, Vonn was forced to not compete as much as she wanted due to many physical injuries. In the 2007 World Cup, Vonn suffered from an ACL tear which led to the early finish to her season. Fortunately, she won nine silver medals in this season before her injury. This ACL tear affected Vonn’s success in the 2013 World Cup in which she completely tore her right ACL. In the 2015 World Cup in New Zealand, Vonn fractured an ankle preseason, and during the season, she experienced a knee fracture that forced her to end a season that she was picked to do well in. Also, In the World Cup on Nov. 10, 2016, Vonn’s career was put on a hold with a fractured humerus in her right arm. This injury took place on a training course in Colorado. In the most recent World Cup, Vonn skipped a day of racing after jarring her back during a Super G Dec. 9.

Vonn is not a stranger to trials and tribulations when it comes to sport injuries. She has been able to come back each season with more and more grit in order to continue pursuing this passion for skiing. Amid injuries, Vonn has even won multiple Olympic titles on top of her World Cup titles. In 2002, Vonn received sixth place in the downhill slope. Also, and perhaps more notably, in 2010, she won gold for downhill and bronze for Super G, meaning a course with multiple fast turns.

Although the public mainstream media became aware of Vonn’s injuries due to her starring in an uplifting Winter Olympics’ promotional commercial, her fire and determination has always been apparent in her colleagues and competition. Her sheer excellence in the downhill race has propelled her to try and allow the Federation Internationale de Ski, the highest governing program of international winter sports, to allow her to compete in the downhill men’s race. Vonn’s talents, in her opinion, should be challenged by people with higher scores than her, which includes her male counterparts. This next challenge would shatter the stereotypes of female sportsmanship.

Nonetheless, Vonn has proven time and time again that she is a force to be reckoned with, making her one of the greatest athletes of our time.

Sources: The New York Post, NBC Sports, Team USA.

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