With 'True Grit' Downhill Run, Lindsey Vonn Wins Olympic Gold

Doug Mills/The New York TimesRedTracker| A jubilant Lindsey Vonn became far more than the first American woman to win an Olympic downhill gold medal. Her destiny challenged Vonn to win by beating her best best friend, roommate and arch competitor Julia Mancuso.

Plagued with a shin injury, Lindsey’s coach and husband Thomas Vonn radioed her at the top of the hill.

“You now have to attack from start to finish or you’re not going to win,” Thomas said. “Somebody else is going to win the gold medal.”

The somebody else was Julia Mancuso, who had skied an amazing run that put her in first place.

Full of pain-killers, knowing the surface was very bumpy, knowing that every inch of her body would be challenged with discomfort, Lindsey Vonn assumed the controversial, sensual Sports Illustrated postion that caused some women to cry ‘foul’ and raced for her life.

Her skis visibly wobbled as Vonn flew about 50 yards skyward and they kept trembling when she landed. America’s ski eagle was wounded but she kept going, as inspiration to every True Grit woman in the world. 

When the tears came, Lindsey Vonn was a winner, and she was also a girl with the ‘right stuff’, a winner. In a game where only one wins the gold, there’s no better story this morning than Lindsey Vonn and longtime rival and teammate Julia Mancuso next to her — two ‘true grit’ American women proving that raw nerve and determination exist even when the body threatens to cave in.

Watching the event and Vonn’s emotional moments afterwards, it was a great tribute to the capacity of women. Anne

Read on: Vonn Wins Olympic Gold in Downhill with Daring Run