Lindsey Vonn won another Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award on Wednesday night sharing the Best Moment Award with the Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade and New England Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski.
All three athletes retired during the past sports year and were honored for how they finished their storied careers.
Wade returned to the Heat for his final NBA season and finished his career with a triple-double. Gronk won Super Bowl LIII with the Pats and called it a career. And Vonn, of course, retired with a bronze medal in the downhill during the 2019 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Are, Sweden.
“It’s an amazing honor to be up here with these two incredible athletes, incredibly old also,” Vonn said. “In my 19-year career, I’ve had a lot of ups and downs, but I’m happy that I’ve broken more records than bones — just about. I want to thank everyone who supported me, who taught me and helped me along the way, especially my family my friends, and, of course, my incredible boyfriend, P.K. (Subban)
“I think what ski racing has taught me is that nothing is more powerful than self-belief. No matter what setback I faced, I always believed I could come back. So for everyone out there, whatever your struggles are, always believe in yourself and never give up.”
Vonn finished with 82 career World Cup wins, second only to Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark. She won four World Cup championships (2008-2010 and 2012), Olympic gold (2010), worlds gold (twice in 2009) and was able to win 23 times on the tour after a devastating knee injury during the 2013 Worlds in Schladming, Austria.
While Vonn joked on Twitter, “How are we going to split this trophy,” the good news is that she has already won two ESPYs for Best Female Athlete in 2010 and 2011.
Morgan bests Mikaela
Speaking of which, Mikaela Shiffrin was up for Best Female Athlete. Alex Morgan of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team won the honor, voted upon by fans.
Taking nothing away from the World Cup champs, it was an uphill battle for Shiffrin to win the award despite having completed one of the most spectacular seasons in the history of Alpine skiing.
Shiffrin won 17 times on the World Cup, a new record, and won at worlds in the super-G and slalom. In the latter, she became the first athlete in the history of the event to four-peat. She won her third World Cup championship in a row and added globes in super-G, giant slalom, and slalom.
Morgan and Shiffrin were seated close to each other during the ceremony and the skier offered her congratulations.
The red carpet
Since it was an awards show, there was a lot of chatter about fashion. As always, Vonn and Shiffrin looked spectacular.
According to People magazine, Vonn was wearing a crystal-and-sequin Yousef Al-Jasmi gown with Rene Caovilla stilettos.
Meanwhile, Shiffrin had her entire fashion lineup on Instagram.
To sum, Shiffrin was wearing a Pronovias dress and Stuart Weitzman shoes and clutch.
Closing time: The Americans face the Netherlands
Time for the closer, ladies.
Ram the ramparts, take over the airports and do whatever you have to do. This morning, we want the Star-Spangled Banner to wave defiantly as the United States takes on the Netherlands in the women’s World Cup Final at 9 a.m. on Fox.
Some of you didn’t realize on July Fourth that the peculiar speech given by our president was actually a coded message to US coach Jill Ellis about how to set up her attack.
Of course, we took over the airports against the British on Tuesday. Why, in the semifinal, Christen Press and Alex Morgan scored with headers vs. England. What did you think he was talking about?
The message was a tactical one, overload the wings, get Kelley O’Hara, Tobin Heath, Press, Lindsay Horan, Crystal Dunn, and Meghan Rapinoe — actually, our group was speculating that POTUS had ordered the Press for Rapinoe sub during the semifinal — to bombard the Dutch from the air and get Morgan, Julie Ertz and the rest in the middle of the field to ram the ramparts and get on the end of it.
It was perfectly clear if you just listened.
Consistency is an incredibly hard thing to maintain, just ask the German men who were defending champions but beaten by Mexico and knocked out in the group phase of the 2018 World Cup.
Steph Curry saw what happens when the fan base starts to think athletic events are preordained or easy. As we saw in the NBA Finals, injuries, luck and the rise of another team peaking at the right time can derail the best-laid plans and the strongest teams.
Even on our high school level, the best teams falter if they aren’t on their game. The Battle Mountain boys soccer team has won four league titles in a row on three occasions but has never been able to win five. Maybe this year.
Complacency is a human trait that is difficult to avoid.
All of which goes to show how remarkable this run has been for the United States. They have been in three finals in a row in a competition which only occurs every four years.
Think of the concentration, luck with injuries and superb preparation that goes into a run like that. Lindsay Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin have expressed on social media their best wishes and few athletes, apart from them, would know what it takes.
We must tip our hats to the players who played in all three finals, the 2-2 draw with Japan in 2011 — the Japanese won on penalties — the 5-2 shellacking payback in 2015 in Canada and this morning’s game.
Rapinoe, if healthy enough to start after sitting out the semifinal, will be the only player to have started all three finals. Carli Lloyd started and missed a penalty in the 2011 shootout loss before roaring back with a hat trick four years later.
Today, Lloyd looks set to play the aging superstar, the closer role that Abby Wambach played with such dignity in 2015. Heath and Morgan were young substitutes in 2011 before starting in 2015 and should be in the lineup again in 2019. Ali Krieger played late in the semifinal this week and hopes to appear as a sub in the final after starting in both 2011 and 2015.
The Netherlands are the champions of Europe, crowned in 2017 and will be looking to collect more than just appearance bonuses in this final.
The US will have to be aware of the potent attacking players the Dutch possess. The Netherlands’ route to the final has been far easier than the US’. Japan gave them a great game in the round of 16, but if the Japanese were honest, they put their team together with an eye towards hosting the Olympics next summer more than winning this event.
Netherlands faced upstarts Italy in the quarterfinal to acclimate themselves to playing a team whose men hadn’t qualified in the 2018 men’s World Cup in case they met the US in the final.
Then they played a relative sleeper of a semifinal against Sweden which wasn’t easy on the eyes if a viewer had watched the fireworks the day before between the US and England.
Our route, by contrast, has been brutal. After racking up the goals in an easy group, the US faced a Spanish team that has recently put resources into the women’s game and who looked very strong, falling 2-1 on two Rapinoe penalties.
In the quarters, the US dispatched the host country on another pair of Rapinoe strikes. We sat Rapinoe in the semifinal for one of several possible reasons:
• The aforementioned executive order from the White House.
• To increase the degree of difficulty.
• To rest Rapinoe for the final.
• To shore up the left side of our team defensively.
• To give Press a chance to play.
• Or maybe she really had a hamstring injury.
Whatever the reason, we hope to see her back for the final.
Let’s hope that the style that the US employs late in the game is a little more attack oriented. Taking the ball to the corner, time wasting and drawing fouls intentionally to run the clock down has been the hallmark of this US team in the last 15 minutes of each knockout game that they have played.
While this tactic has been effective, most fans would rather see them possess the ball and go for that additional goal to kill the game off. Not only have these tactics resembled the men’s game, but they are more like what a team does at the end of a game where they are pulling off an unlikely win against a better opponent.
We are the favorites. Let’s finish off this last game with a bit more swagger.
A world for goalie Alyssa Naher is due here. After a diving save to tip one over the bar, earlier in the game, perhaps the save of the tournament, Alyssa dove to her right to stop English captain Steph Houghton’s penalty kick.
Saving PK’s requires poise, patience and a bit of luck, but as the Grateful Dead sang in “U.S. Blues,” “Ain’t no luck, I learned to duck.”
Speaking of the Grateful Dead, Morgan caused more controversy with her alleged tea toast to the English after scoring the winning goal, although we have to ask Morgan for a clarification of her intentions on that celebration.
Many of us in Colorado saw it as a tribute to our state, err, flower and a salute to the immaculate chipped pass from Golden’s Horan. One can only imagine what she has in store for the Dutch and the Amsterdam cafe culture.
Whatever you have to do Alex, whatever you have to do. ”Summertime’s done, come and gone, my oh my!”
Battle Mountain social-studies teacher and soccer coach David Cope watches far too much soccer, quotes The Grateful Dead or Bruce Springsteen too much and hopes his Huskies can win that elusive fifth league title this fall.
Text Lindsey Vonn … for real
The first reaction on Wednesday was Lindsey Vonn’s Twitter just got hacked.
After all, how often does the greatest American ski racer just give out her phone number and ask you to text her?
Upon further clarification, it was on the up and up.
So, the number is 970-471-7878, if you want to text Vonn or receive updates about what the retired ski great is doing. We tried it Friday afternoon and received an automated response.
We are impressed by Vonn’s excellent use of multiple emojis. On a serious note, it seems that Vonn can use this outlet to communicate with her fans directly and amass data of her followers.
In the last two days, Vonn has been gamely fielding tech support questions and talking with a few fans, including NHL boyfriend P.K. Subban, recently traded to the New Jersey Devils.
While not texting with her fans, Vonn continues to work on her foundation, has started her own YouTube channel, is writing her memoir among other projects.
Is the IOC getting something right or just lucky?
Have we lived long enough to see the International Olympic Committee learn some common sense?
The candidates to host the 2026 Winter Olympics are Italy (a combination of Milan and and Cortina) and Sweden (Stockholm and Are). Shockingly enough, these are countries and sites with actual winter weather and built-in venues for winter sports.
It shouldn’t seem so shocking, but the finalists for 2022 were Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan, not exactly snow spots, with the former earning hosting duties.
Perhaps, it’s not so much the IOC having a come-to-Jesus moment, but the rest of the world just giving up on on the profligacy of both the Summer and Winter Olympics. Athens (2004) and Rio de Janeiro (2016) have left pools of debt and white elephants of athletic complexes for the summer cycle, and Tokyo 2020 seems headed down that path.
In the winter, it was unquestionably Sochi (2014). The Russians’ first foray into the winter festival destroyed all the parameters of financial normalcy, whose largesse may only be surpassed by the glories that will be Beijing 2022.
Of course, the Winter Games have evolved with the addition of sports like snowboarding, freestyle skiing and short-track speed skating to the point where old ski towns like Lake Placid, New York, (1932 and 1980) or Lillehammer, Norway, (1994) can no longer host.
Hence you have combination bids like Vancouver and Whistler in British Columbia in 2010, the blob that was Sochi (the coastal and mountain clusters) and the 2026 bids.
Taking a pass
But it’s still worth noting who dropped out of the bidding for the upcoming 2022 and 2026 Olympics.
For 2022, Olso and Stockholm both said, “no thanks.” Austria and Italy considered a joint bid as did Quebec and Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the host city back in 1984. All of them said no mas for 2022.
Before 2026 got narrowed down to Italy and Sweden, Calgary, Alberta, (1988 host), Erzurum, Turkey (not happening), Sapporo, Japan (1972 host), Graz, Austria, and Sion, Switzerland also begged off.
Think about that. Norway, Sweden, and Finland (Helsinki also briefly considered 2022) invented Nordic sports and said no. The country known as “The Great White North” bowed out twice. Austria twice, Italy and Switzerland once, all slightly mountainous, said nope.
Three different former host cities said, “Too rich for our blood.” (I’m sentimental and would have liked to Sarajevo host, no matter how unpractical.)
By sheer luck, it seems we have two well-qualified bids for 2026.
Alpine at the Olympics
As an added bonus, both the Italian and Swedish bids have true Alpine venues — Cortina and Are. They are regular World Cup sites and have hosted the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships (Cortina, 1956 and 2021, and Are, 2007 and 2019).
How novel. Sochi’s snow was wretched. However, well-intentioned Pyeongchang, South Korea, was, it was a wind tunnel. When a slalom course needs to be shortened because of wind as was the case last winter, it’s not a freak occurrence. And I can hardly wait for Beijing.
But the Olympics in Cortina? (The Italian bid leads its Swedish counterpart) Lindsey Vonn might come out of retirement. We’re kidding, though she had 12 World Cup wins there. Mikaela Shiffrin? She can ski tech anywhere, and she won in super-G in Cortina last winter.
Keep up the good work, IOC.
Lindsey Vonn undergoes surgery on left knee at Steadman Clinic in Vail
When Lindsey Vonn crashed in November at Copper Mountain while training, the winningest female skier in World Cup historycompletely tore her LCL on her left knee. While she pushed through the pain to compete with a brace on her knee, she ultimately had to call it a career after the world championships in February.
“Obviously skiing with a brace this season didn’t go as well
as I had hoped,” Vonn wrote in an Instagram post.
On Monday, Vonn underwent surgery to repair her knee with Dr. Robert LaPrade at the Steadman Clinic in Vail.
“Unfortunately this isn’t an April fools post … but surgery
went well and I’m now recovering at home,” Vonn wrote in an Instagram post of
her lying in the hospital bed.
Vonn said she put off surgery so that she could fulfill
other responsibilities, including hosting her annual Lindsey Vonn Foundation
fundraiser in Vail at the end of March in Vail.
“I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to do so much despite
all of my injuries and what not, but now all the doors are open and I can
really hunker down, work hard and hopefully accomplish something much greater
than I did in ski racing,” she said at the fundraiser.
Lindsey Vonn’s got next: Legendary ski racer has big plans
VAIL — Lindsey Vonn’s historic ski-racing career was defined not by how many times she fell, but how many times she got back up. The end result of that tenacity? Three Olympic medals, eight World Championships medals and 82 World Cup victories — the most of any female skier.
Nearly two months into her retirement from World Cup competition, Vonn’s work ethic hasn’t wavered, but her focus has.
“I just think that ski racing is a small part of my life and
my career,” Vonn said before her foundation’s fundraiser in Vail on March 29.
“I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to do so much despite all of my injuries and
what not, but now all the doors are open and I can really hunker down, work
hard and hopefully accomplish something much greater than I did in ski racing.”
‘Ready to move on’
Similar to her dedicated preparation before entering
starting gates across the world for so many years, Vonn and her close circle of
family and friends have been preparing for this moment for years, she said.
With more time and availability away from ski racing, Vonn is certainly staying busy while focusing on a balance of work and play — including doing ski ballet with Jonny Moseley on Vail Mountain.
Vonn has partnered with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Under Armour on the Bend Boundaries Project Rock Collection. When she signed on, the current line was already mostly designed, but she’s looking forward to being more hands-on moving forward.
“The next line I’m working closely with him and the design team to make sure the products are perfect,” Vonn said. “Obviously he’s not a girl, so he can’t wear test it, so that’s kind of my job.”
Currently, the duo have Under Armour’s top 10 selling items.
At the Lindsey Vonn Foundation annual fundraiser — an ’80s prom-themed affair — Johnson recorded a special message to the crowd and offered up a live auction item featuring a visit to set of “Jungle Cruise,” his new Disney film based off the amusement park ride of the same name.
Her mission with the foundation is to build out its
curriculum in the next three years and work toward a long-term plan, helping
more girls build confidence and reach their goals.
Vonn is also working on a memoir coming out soon and a
beauty line with partner Chase Ink.
“We have a lot of things in the works. Some of it you’ll
hear about soon; some of it will come out in a while,” she said, “but I’m
definitely staying busy.”
Acting classes are also on the to-do list for Vonn.
“I really want to kick some ass in whatever it is I do —
some sort of action movie,” she said.
With projects and connections across the country, Vonn will
continue to spend some time in Vail and is having her surgery done here on
“I think it’s important for me to find a good balance
because I tend to be a workaholic, and I could fill up every single day if I
wanted to,” she said. “I also want to spend time with P.K. and my family, and
P.K. is P.K. Subban, Vonn’s boyfriend and a star defenseman for the Nashville Predators. When asked if she’ll ever take up singing while in Nashville, Vonn said “definitely not.” Her time now revolves around someone else’s competitive schedule.
“It just depends on P.K.’s schedule because I want to be there for him and hopefully he makes it to the Stanley Cup Finals and wins the cup,” she said.
While Vonn finished her ski racing career four wins shy of the 86 World Cup victories claimed by the great Ingemar Stenmark of Sweden, the sport is officially in her rearview.
“It’s weird, it’s already so far in the back of my mind, and that’s how it should be,” she said. “If I was still thinking about it then that wouldn’t be healthy. I’ve accepted what I did in my career and I’m ready to move on.”
Mikaela Shiffrin aside, the US Ski Team has work to do
Mikaela Shiffrin really covers up a lot of warts.
The Austrian Ski Team — men and women combined — not surprisingly won the most World Cup races this season with 21. The United States had the second most wins with 17, followed by Italy with 10.
Of course, Marcel Hirscher powers the Austrians.. The eight-time defending World Cup champion won eight times, a little more than a third of the Land of Mountains’ wins.
That one person — Shiffrin — finished second among nations with 17 wins is yet another way of describing Mikaela’s sublime state. The flip side of that coin is that U.S. Ski Team is one-person squad, essentially down from a two-women troupe with Lindsey Vonn’s retirement.
Right now, there really is no there there when it comes to American skiing as team.
Cue the ‘Jeopardy’ music
Trivia time: Who was the last American not named Mikaela or Lindsey on a World Cup podium?
Ted Ligety took third in a giant slalom in Garmisch, Germany, on Jan. 28, 2018.
Who was the last American not named Mikaela or Lindsey to win a World Cup race?
That’s Travis Ganong in downhill on Jan. 27, 2017, in Garmisch. (Eerie date and similarity there.)
Last woman on the podium not named Mikaela or Lindsey? That’s Alice McKennis at World Cup finals in Are, Sweden, on March 14, 2018. Jacqueline Wiles also had a podium that season in Italy.
Last woman to win a World Cup not named Mikaela or Lindsey? To the way-back machine we go with Julia Mancuso in a city event in Moscow on Feb. 21, 2012. “Super Jules” also won a super-G in Garmisch that year. (The U.S. Ski Team should petition to have all future races in Germany, right?)
This is a way of saying that there is little if any depth on the U.S. Ski Team.
Yes, Wiles went down right before the 2018 Olympics with an injury. Breezy Johnson got hurt right after the 2018 Olympics. For the guys, Ganong tore his ACL around New Year’s 2018.
But even if none of these injuries had happened, the U.S. Ski Team would not have depth. Depth is having skiers who are capable of top 10 World Cup finishes competing for the four spots in a discipline on Olympic or FIS Alpine World Ski Championships teams.
Facing some facts
On the men’s side, we do note that Bryce Bennett seems to be on an upward arc. He had four top 10 finishes in World Cup downhills, another at worlds and finished seventh in the points in the discipline. (Dear U.S. Ski Team, please put him on the A Team for full funding.)
We also acknowledge that Ganong came back early from his ACL, and that his 2018-19 season was going to be part of the rehab process.
For the women, we’ll see how Johnson and Wiles recover. This is the glass-is-half-full look at things.
The empty part of the glass is difficult. Ligety has had two full seasons on tour since his injuries and he’s not close to the skier he was. He hasn’t won a race since Oct. 25, 2015, the Soelden, Austria, opener.
Since his injuries he has five top 10s in two years, respectable, but nowhere near the automatic-podium/winning status he once held. He turns 35 this summer, and time is not on his side.
Should all honors be accorded Ted for being the best GS skier in American history? Yes. However, the fact remains that Ligety’s best days are behind him, and it’s likely the case with Steve Nyman as well.
Outside of Shiffrin, the U.S. Ski Team is in transition. It’s happened before. When we hosted the 1999 Worlds at Vail and Beaver Creek, the cupboard seemed equally bare. Chad Fleischer (super-G) and some guy named Miller (slalom) logged the only top-10 finishes for the Americans. The U.S. was blanked on the medal table.
Sarah Schleper was injured. Picabo Street was also hurt, and on the downside of her illustrious career. We’ve been here, done that and have the T-shirt.
Vonn was 13 during Vail ’99 and Shiffrin was 3. (Egad.) Four years later, Daron and Bode started their rampage and some youngster named Ted made GS races must-see viewing. And you know the rest of the story.
The task for the U.S. Ski Team this summer and in the next few years is to find who follows in those footsteps.
WATCH: Lindsey Vonn takes ski ballet lessons from Jonny Moseley in Vail
Lindsey Vonn may have announced her retirement from competitive ski racing earlier this year, but that doesn’t mean she’s hanging up her skis.
In fact, she’s diversifying her skill set on two planks, with the help of fellow skiing legend Jonny Moseley. The two were recently spotted on Vail Mountain, where Moseley was giving Vonn a lesson in ski ballet.
Moseley, who Ski Mag ranked in its Top 10 Most Influential Skiers of All Time, is most known for being a pioneer of freestyle tricks. His guidance will help top off Vonn’s accomplishments on skis, which include 82 World Cup wins and three Olympic medals spread across all five competitive disciplines of Alpine skiing.
What is ski ballet?
Formerly an Olympic sport, ski ballet is much like the name suggests: mimicking traditional ballet moves while traveling downhill on a pair of skis. Skis are much bigger and heavier than your traditional ballet slippers, making a pirouette all the more tricky. Add a partner to the scenario, and things quickly change from graceful to comical.
… but why?
Who knows? Maybe this power duet can create enough attention to revive a once-Olympic sport. Maybe, with enough training, there will be another chapter to add to both of their decorated skiing careers. Or maybe they’re just having fun. Only time will tell.
Lindsey Vonn Foundation making dreams come true through scholarship program
Lindsey Vonn used grit, determination and passion to become a legend of ski racing before retiring in February. Through her foundation, she’s helping the next generation of young women pursue their own passions — whatever they might be — through a scholarship program twice a year.
In 2018, the Lindsey Vonn Foundation awarded more than $83,000 to 30 girls across the country to support academic and enrichment opportunities.
Applications for the summer scholarships are available now and close Friday, March 15. Applications can be found online at www.lindseyvonnfoundation.org/scholarships. (Awarded twice a year, the fall deadline is in September and the summer deadline is in March.)
Scholarships are available for $100 and up to $5,000 for all genders, ages 11-18, with other eligibility requirements including financial need and limiting scholarships to one per year per student, but up to three total.
‘Made the difference’
Princess Lang, 17, is a junior at the Chicago Academy for the Arts. Thanks to a scholarship from the Lindsey Vonn Foundation in 2018, she was able to further her passion for musical theater. (Photo Special to the Daily)
“During that process, I just wrote about myself, what I did and what I would like the scholarship for,” said Princess Lang, 17, a scholarship recipient in the fall.
Lang is a junior at the Chicago Academy for the Arts, pursuing her passion for musical theater.
“When I was younger I watched the movie ‘Dreamgirls’ and Beyonce as Deena just did something to me,” she said. “I just had to do this with my life.”
However pursuing her dream at the Chicago Academy for the Arts came with a financial burden, which the Lindsey Vonn Foundation jumped in to help with after seeing the scholarship application from Princess.
“It totally made the difference,” her mom, Kisha, said. “Her being a junior, I wanted to keep her in the same school, but financially it is a strain paying that kind of tuition for a high school. So this is a great help alleviating some of the stress.”
Vonn picks each of her scholarship winners, some looking into careers in medicine and others pursuing athletic endeavors.
“It’s great to watch these girls,” said Vonn’s sister, Laura Kildow, who oversees the Lindsey Vonn Foundation. “All of them are great.”
In addition to the scholarships, the Lindsey Vonn Foundation also hosts all-girls camps in the summer (this year’s location TBD), where Vonn is available all throughout the weekend. The foundation also promotes anti-bullying programs and continues to grow and make a difference.
“I thought she was going to slow down after retirement,” Kildow said of her famous sister.
However, she continues to pursue other passions now, including philanthropy.
“I’m trying to get Princess to understand that you don’t have to get paid for everything and sometimes it’s good to just show people your heart,” Kisha Lang said. “I think that’s something both of us captured from Lindsey being the giver that she is.”
Join Lindsey Vonn Foundation in raising money for youth scholarships
Lindsey Vonn and the Lindsey Vonn Foundation announced today the Foundation’s annual fundraiser. Themed “Big Hair Prom Affair,” tickets are on sale now for the third annual costume party, taking place Friday, March 29, at the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail.
Attendees are encouraged to get out the hairspray and turn back time with Vonn on the dance floor. The event will include silent and live auctions, hors d’oeuvres, dancing to the Jordan Kahn Orchestra band, an after party and more. Auction items will include works of art, experiences with Lindsey Vonn and one-of-a-kind keepsakes.
Empowering Next Generation
All proceeds from the evening’s events will benefit the Lindsey Vonn Foundation and help empower the next generation via scholarships for education, sports and enrichment programs, anti-bullying summits and LVF Strong Girls Camps
“2019 is going to be our biggest and best party yet, in celebration and in support of youth growth and development across the country,” Vonn said in a press release. “I look forward to my Foundation’s event every year. It’s a great time with friends and supporters to help advance our mission.”