"Excited and happy, but these are my last races on Olympia"

It’s true love between Cortina and Lindsey Vonn. The American star of the international skiing circuit today spoke of her close relationship with the course and the town of Cortina, which have played such a crucial part in her rise to sporting fame. It was on Olympia delle Tofane that Lindsey Kildow (her maiden name) clinched the first podium of her career in the downhill on 18 January 2004 when she came third behind the French athlete Carole Montillet and the Austrian Renate Goetschl. Her first win came four years later, beating Anja Paerson and Emily Brydon to the finish line.

2015 marked another milestone in her career when she set a new record of 63 wins for a female skier. It was the year Tiger Woods, her boyfriend at the time, came to watch her compete and the photos of the happy couple made the front pages of all the papers around the world. Last year she managed to fight off the challenge of the Olympic champion Sofia Goggia. Between winks and runs, each won a race, just a couple of days before the start of the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

Today Lindsey stands at 82 wins, 12 of which she collected on Olympia (6 in the downhill and 6 in the super G) and she has her sights firmly set on the record of 86 held by Ingemar Stenmark. Her return to racing after the injury which kept her out of the competition at the beginning of the season, coincides with the twenty-seventh consecutive Ladies’ World Cup on Olympia, and Lindsey’s heart is racing. She loves the course, we all know that, the team has groomed the slope to perfection, and it could not be in better conditions. So are we looking at victory number 83 for the American? We’ll have to wait and see what happens over the next few days. Lindsey’s reunion with Cortina began with the resounding applause of the staff of Fondazione Cortina 2021 who greeted her like a superstar.

"I love Cortina - said Lindsey -, everyone knows that, it’s such a beautiful place and getting back into the competition at Cortina is the best thing that could have happened to me".

"This is where I won my first podium and when I called my father to tell him, I just burst into tears. I set the record of 63 wins and my whole family was there. I have so many special memories of Cortina. I feel confident here in Cortina".

"This is my last season, so I don’t want to think about winning. I want to ski as well as I possibly can and see what happens".

"My body is telling me it’s had enough, there’s no chance I’ll be back to compete in Cortina next year. It’s not because I don’t want to or am not motivated to, it’s purely physical. There’s a life after skiing. I’m only going to compete in speed races this year. I got my first World Championship medal in 2007 in Åre, so going out at another Championship there couldn’t be more perfect".

"I speak with Sofia Goggia every so often. I think she’s in good shape now and is fighting to come back as soon as possible, but she wasn’t ready for Cortina. This sport needs people like her, people who are a bit out of the box".

"Ilka Stuhec is the favourite this year after her double victory in Val Gardena, Tina Weirather is really strong too. It’ll be an exciting weekend".

"I want to really enjoy my last time in Cortina. I’m very excited, of course, but I’m here to win same as ever".

“I think the most beautiful moment in Cortina is before the recon run, when the sun rises and the sky and the mountains turn orange and then red. I think the valley and the Tofane are one of the most beautiful sights in the world”.

about author