Lindsey Caroline Vonn (née Kildow; born October 18, 1984) is a female American alpine ski racer with the U.S. Ski Team. She has won four overall World Cup championships – one of only two female skiers to have done so, along with Annemarie Moser-Pröll – with three consecutive titles in 2008, 2009 and 2010, plus another in 2012. Vonn won the gold medal in downhill at the 2010 Winter Olympics, the first ever in the event for an American woman. She has also won five consecutive World Cup season titles in the downhill discipline, four consecutive titles in Super G, and three consecutive titles in the combined as of 2012.
Vonn is one of five women to have won World Cup races in all five disciplines of alpine skiing – downhill, super G, giant slalom, slalom, and super combined – and has won 53 World Cup races in her career as of March 14, 2012. Only two women have more World Cup victories in their careers, Austrian Annemarie Moser-Pröll with 62 and Swiss Vreni Schneider with 55, both retired from active racing. With her Olympic gold and bronze medals, two World Championship gold medals in 2009 (plus three silver medals in 2007 / 2011), and four overall World Cup titles, Vonn has become the most successful American skier in the history of alpine skiing.
Vonn received the Laureus World Sports Awards Sportswoman of the Year for 2010. She was also honored again as the USOC's sportswoman of the year for 2010.
Vonn was born Lindsey Caroline Kildow in St. Paul, Minnesota, the daughter of Linda Anne (née Krohn) and Alan Lee Kildow. She was raised in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, in Burnsville. Vonn was on skis at age two, before moving into Erich Sailer's renowned development program at Buck Hill, which also produced slalom racer Kristina Koznick. Her father, who had been a national junior skiing champion before a knee injury at 18, "pushed" her very hard, according to Sailer.
When Vonn was ten years old, she met Olympic gold medalist ski racer Picabo Street, whom she considers her heroine and role model. Their meeting made such an impression on Street that she remembered the meeting and later would serve as Vonn's mentor in skiing. Vonn commuted to Colorado to train for several years before her family moved to Vail in the late 1990s.
Vonn attended University of Missouri High School, an online program through the university's Center for Distance and Independent Study.
She also frequently stays at the home of her friend and major competitor, Maria Riesch in Garmisch, Germany. Traditionally, Lindsey and Thomas Vonn had spent Christmas Eve at the Riesch family home; Lindsey is fluent in German (including Austro-Bavarian). During the off-season, the Vonns reside in Vail, Colorado., but also have residences in Germany and Atlanta. During the World Cup racing season in Europe, the U.S. team stayed in Kirchberg. The most unusual of Vonn's trophies also lives in Kirchberg: Olympe the cow. Vonn kept the oversized pet instead of the check for her 2005 win in Val D'Isère. Vonn's nicknames are "Kildon", "Don Don" and "The Don." Her hobbies include cycling, tennis, reading, and watching NBC's Law & Order; Vonn appeared as a guest star in the final series episode ("Rubber Room") on Law & Order on May 24, 2010.
Vonn appeared in Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Edition that featured Winter Olympians in 2010. Vonn also made No. 59 on Maxim's Hot 100 list.
She married fellow 2002 Olympian and former U.S. Ski Team athlete Thomas Vonn on September 29, 2007, at the Silver Lake Lodge in Deer Valley, Utah. On November 27, 2011, it was announced that Lindsey and Thomas Vonn had begun divorce proceedings after four years of marriage. On December 7, 2011, Vonn notched her first World Cup victory on U.S. snow, at Beaver Creek, Colorado. Due to a lack of snow in France, its Super G was rescheduled in advance for a Wednesday on the Birds of Prey course. Her limited success on U.S. snow is primarily due to a lack of speed events; only three have been run in the U.S. during her career. It was the first home win by an American woman in 17 years, when Hilary Lindh of Alaska won the downhill in nearby Vail in December 1994. Vonn has had significant success in North America with eleven wins in Canada over eight seasons, all at Lake Louise, Alberta; she swept all three speed events at Lake Louise in December 2011. The eleven wins at Lake Louise broke the record held by Renate Goetschl for most career wins at a single resort.